(UPDATE) THE Ministry of Agriculture (DA) will set the suggested retail price (SRP) for sugar this week as the retail price for the product has reached 115 to 120 pesos per kilo, according to an agency official.
Establishing an SRP will help maintain fair pricing across different sales channels or store locations.
Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said a benchmark price for sugar will be implemented immediately following the stakeholder consultation scheduled for Wednesday, August 10, 2022 to control its price in the local market.
“We will publish an SRP within the week. It is very important that we have this consultation,” she said.
Earlier this week, the retail price of refined sugar was set at 100 pesos per kilo.
“Based on our daily monitoring, the retail price of refined sugar in some markets is already 115-120 pesos per kilo, so it is important for us to implement the SRP on sugar to avoid unnecessary spikes” , said Evangelista.
Evangelista added that the DA was considering a P90 SRP for sugar.
“As of now, our going price is 90 pesos per kilo. After reviewing the supply situation, we are now ready to discuss with our stakeholders the imposition of the SRP on sugar,” added Evangelista.
Traders and vendors will be invited during the planned stakeholder consultation.
Evangelista said the retail price of sugar has already doubled from the price a year ago of 52 pesos per kilo.
She added that an enforcement team will monitor compliance in the market once a benchmark price has been determined.
A show cause order will be issued to those who do not comply with the SRP.
“Based on our experience, retailers and sellers will always blame merchants for the high cost. We will then ask merchants. We want to be transparent in the cost structure. We will guide sellers to ensure they do not exceed not the SRP,” Evangelista said.
She added that the government hopes to lower the price of sugar in the market with the import of at least 300,000 metric tons (MT) in September.
“Of course, that’s the goal, but we have to consider the price of acquiring the sugar and the cost of the logistics, and then we’ll find the landed cost.”
Evangelista said the planned import of 300,000 tons of sugar will be allocated for domestic and industrial use.
“We proposed the 300,000 metric tons based on the expected local harvest in August and domestic consumption as well as the needs of industrial users. So based on our consultation with our sugar planters and also industrial users , we are looking at 300,000 metric tons,” she added.
Evangelista said local manufacturers and traders were not exporting sugar to the United States due to supply shortages in the country, mainly brought by Typhoon “Odette”.
“We really have a sugar supply shortage because of Typhoon Odette. It takes 11 months before farmers can harvest the sugar cane and we have three markets – the household, we have the institutional buyers, it’s the restaurants and the industrial users are the manufacturers,” she said.
The country’s sugar production is estimated at 1.8 million metric tons while the demand for the past three crop years has been around 2.03 million metric tons.
Sufficient supply of eggs
The DA assured that there was sufficient supply of eggs in the country despite the continuous increase in its retail price.
“We have enough eggs, but in our conversation with our egg farmers, they expressed concerns to ensure stable production,” Evangelista said in a radio interview.
Evangelista said based on DA monitoring, the retail price of the egg is P7 to P8 per piece. She added that the price increase has already affected consumer habits, noting that those who buy by the tray are now only buying by the piece.
Evangelista said the DA will implement interventions to address the issue.
“The cost of production needs to be addressed to really help bring the cost down and at the same time we are looking at the intervention in terms of logistics,” Evangelista added.
Apart from the cost of production, she said the DA also helps egg farmers sell their products directly to retailers.
“We help Batangas egg producers market their products directly to retailers. Our centers in Kadiwa will sell eggs to retailers at wholesale price to drive down the retail price in the market,” Evangelista said.