Press Release
May 3, 2010

Villar vows to boost sugar industry

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar has vowed to bring the country's sugar industry back on its feet and protect local producers, millers and consumers.

"The government needs to reform its policy on sugar production. The tight supply situation in the industry, which is a direct result of a weak policy structure, threatens to derail economic growth," Villar said.

He said the country's sugar industry continues to be plagued by smuggling which he considers one of the factors why producers suffer from low profits.

"Sugar smuggling affects the ability of our producers to upgrade and improve efficiency which, in turn, prevents them from increasing their yields and profits. Eradicating smuggling will automatically provide benefits for our sugar planters," Villar said.

He also said concerns such as land conversion, modernization and production of biofuel feedstocks will be addressed immediately under his administration.

"We will come up with a comprehensive program for the sugar industry that will balance the welfare of the producer, the miller, the trader and the consumer. The economy can get a big boost if we can create balanced growth for the industry," Villar explained.

The NP presidential bet said he wants to increase agricultural productivity, reduce post-harvest losses and empower agricultural producers.

"We are an agricultural nation. But sadly, agriculture has not received the support it needs and deserves. Seventy percent of poor Filipinos are employed in the agricultural sector. Yet government investment in modernization has been lacking," he said.

Villar vowed to modernize the sugar industry to make it profitable for producers. He said his government will provide full support for the formation of cooperatives of producers and at the same time promote entrepreneurship to sugar producers.

"The agricultural sector presents many opportunities for downstream livelihood. We will promote these opportunities by also investing in research and development. By doing so we can create business models that we can provide to farmers and their families so that the growth can be multiplied down to the grassroots levels," he added.

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