BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Former country sugar chief Rafael “Lito” Coscolluela sees bleak prospects for the country’s Sugar Bowl amid rising fuel, fertilizer costs and a new wage hike that would lead to production falls and affect the local workforce.
As the tiempo muerto or dead season in the island starts – the period between milling and planting of sugarcane that leads to a work slowdown or stoppage in the fields – Coscolluela said planters are headed for tougher times as fertilizer prices, especially urea, triple and as diesel fuel prices also climb.
These will be worsened, he said, by a daily wage hike of P55.
The province, reputed as the Sugar Bowl of the country and its Oriental side, is where 53 percent of the 423,000 hectares planted to sugarcane in the country is located.
Coscolluela, a sugarplanter leader and former chief of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, also said aside from cutting down on fertilizer use like urea, the most commonly used input, producers will also cut down on labor costs that would, in effect, lead to unemployment.
He added some planters are also thinking of stopping sugarcane planting this crop year.
Watch video of this interview by DNX Executive Editor Julius D Mariveles to know more.