DA to investigate artificial sugar shortage
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) will look into allegations of artificial scarcity or manipulation that caused large spikes in sugar prices, according to an official.
“We’ve had complaints of artificial scarcity, so we’re looking into that,” Undersecretary for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Evangelista said in an interview.
Evangelista also said they are verifying any hoarding or manipulation complaints they have received and, if found to be true, the DA will “take appropriate action.”
Evangelista said the DA would also look at the cost structure of sugar prices.
Prices in retail markets pass through different layers, from production to marketing of this sweetener. According to the official, sugar prices, largely dictated by traders, are determined by supply.
“We need to be able to fix this because we always need to protect consumers, the price of sugar from production until it reaches consumers follows the cost structure,” Evangelista said in a mixture of English. and Filipino.
The agriculture official said he would meet with industry stakeholders to propose a new cost structure, which will serve as the basis for pricing sugar products in the coming months, as well as discuss other issues, including the impending supply shortage.
Solve the supply bottleneck
Other points of discussion include the decision to implement a suggested retail price for sugar and fill the supply gap through imports.
“If there’s a supply bottleneck somewhere causing price spikes, then that’s something we need to address,” Evangelista added.
In Metro Manila, refined sugar in supermarkets is sold from 69.30 pesos per kilogram up to 115 pesos per kg and in wet markets from 88 to 95 pesos per kg, based on the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Price Watch. of July 15.
Retail prices for raw sugar in supermarkets range from P54.20 to P82 per kg, while in wet markets it is sold for between P65 and P70 per kg.
The agency will also conduct a physical inventory and inspect all warehouses where the country’s sugar stock is stored as part of the government’s efforts to repair the value chain.
The SRA earlier said the Philippines’ sugar reserve would last until August, although next month’s harvest could support dwindling supplies.
“If our supply is the same, we see the same trend in August. If additional supply comes, prices could go down by 71 to 75 pesos,” Evangelista said.
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