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Sale of seized smuggled sugar at Kadiwa eyed in May —SRA

The tons of confiscated smuggled sugar are targeted to be sold at Kadiwa stores in the coming month, the top official of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said Friday.

The SRA last week said it has amended several rules to authorize the donation of confiscated smuggled sugar to Kadiwa stores and allow its sale to the general public.

“In due time, I cannot give a specific date… But, we are trying our best to get it done. Our target is hopefully by May everything is okay,” SRA Acting Administrator and CEO Pablo Luis Azcona told reporters in a Zoom interview.

Azcona said that following the amendments of rules to allow the retailing of the confiscated contraband sugar at Kadiwa stores, the government is addressing issues on logistics and warehousing for the sale of the commodity.

“So far, the BOC (Bureau of Customs) has allowed it and the SRA has already amended the memorandum circular,” he said.

“What we are fixing now is logistics — where it will be stored and how to release it to the market,” he added.

Azcona said a total of 4,000 metric tons of seized smuggled refined sugar are ready to be released for sale at Kadiwa stores at P70 per kilo.

Explained why P70 per kilo, Azcona said: “It’s difficult to go below P70 [per kilo] because it’s only 4,000 [MT]. Our production locally is 1.8 million [MT]. If we make it lower… it will be to the detriment of farmers and dependents.”

“That is the rule of the SRA to try and maintain a careful balance between the farmers planting and the retail customers,” he added.

In March, Malacañang announced that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved the sale of the 4,000 metric tons of confiscated sugar at Kadiwa stores.

The Department of Agriculture had planned to begin the sale of sequestered contraband sugar this month.

Azcona earlier said the sale of the confiscated sugar was “a bit delayed” as it has not yet undergone testing to determine if it is fit for human consumption.

The Kadiwa Center is a program of the DA that aims to provide the public with affordable goods. Apart from sugar, the Department of Agriculture is also considering selling other smuggled commodities like rice and vegetables at these stores. —KBK, GMA Integrated News