The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will be selling confiscated smuggled sugar in Kadiwa stalls starting April, an official said on Friday.
“We already have the approval for the donation of the sugar that we seized for the Kadiwa for sale. Last week, we were just discussing the documentation and the legalities so we can sell it right away,” Pablo Luis Azcona, SRA board member said.
“I think just as long as we finish, there are certain details we are fixing up, where the funds will go, small details, something like that. And then after that, hopefully by April, it’s a go,” he added.
An initial 4,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar will be sold next month, he said.
“They were saying the retailers have stock of the sugar so we slowly see the P85 per kilo target from the DA (Department of Agriculture),” Azcona added.
“Phytosanitary permits are not a problem, as all sugar products, seized or legal, undergo a check for quality assurance,” he said.
Recently, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved selling seized smuggled sugar, which could be given to government agencies as “donation.”
The SRA also expects sugar prices to go down to P70 per kilo following the approval to import 440,000 MT of the sweetener, Azcona said.
He added that some 100,000 MT of sugar imports have arrived, with 16,000 MT already released and converted from reserve to domestic use.
The SRA is still waiting for approval of their request for the reclassification of 24,500 MT, he said.
The regulator earlier said the imports would augment the local supply of sugar and curb rising prices.
Earlier, a farmers’ group said selling seized smuggled sugar at Kadiwa centers is akin to promoting illegally imported goods.
“If you promote smuggled goods, this will not help the farmers,” Rosendo So, the president of Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura or SINAG, said in a phone interview.
The essence of Kadiwa, he said, is to help sell farmers’ products directly to consumers.
The government has decided to sell at least 12,000 MT of seized smuggled sugar at Kadiwa stores.
The DA runs the Kadiwa stores, which sells produce at lower prices.