Sugar shortage now affecting sari-sari stores, carinderias – group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — The sugar shortage facing the country has started taking a toll on the sales of sari-sari store and carinderia owners as the supply of softdrinks becomes inadequate., the Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners, Inc. (PASCO) said Thursday.

In a statement, PASCO said that while there were signs of improvement in their operations this year amid looser COVID-19 restrictions, the sugar shortage is threatening their full recovery.

The group said wholesalers have informed the store owners that the insufficient supply of soft drinks and other beverages may last for "three months or longer."

PASCO noted that sales from soft drink products make up the bulk of the store owners' earnings.

"Talagang malaki ang epekto sa kinikita naming mga tindahan sa aming pangkalahatang kabuhayan ang kakulangan ng sapat na produktong mabenta sa aming mga suki at mamimili," PASCO said.

[Translation: Not having enough products to sell to our customers greatly impacts our stores' revenue and our overall livelihood.]

Earlier this week, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc., Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc., and ARC Refreshments Corp. said, "our industry is facing a shortage of premium refined sugar –- a key ingredient in many of our products."

This comes amid the fiasco involving the issuance of an order permitting the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, which was later branded as "illegal." The former agriculture official who signed the document was not authorized to do so on behalf of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

In a briefing with congressmen, resigned Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian said he signed the order based on the data presented to him by the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

READ: Resigned DA official: There is clear indication of rapidly diminishing sugar supply

"There is a clear indication of the rapidly diminishing supply of sugar," Sebastian said. "Current supply is projected to run out in August 2022, this month, and end of crop year 2021-2022."

While Marcos rejected the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, the President said last Sunday that the country might need to import 150,000 MT by October.

READ: Marcos eyes sugar importation by October if supply dwindles