Sugaronline Editorial - SOS for SRA By Meghan Sapp

Published: 09/15/2017, 12:03:00 PM

Off with its head! But is the SRA really dead?

Off with its head! But is the SRA really dead?


It may not be a stretch of the imagination to think that when the President of the Philippines lashed out at the Sugar Regulatory Authority this week for having three consultants on board making a larger salary than he does, threatening the entire existence of the organisation, that he was having a bit of a Trump moment. He does that, you know.

But as time goes by and he leaves the threat on the table rather than rescinding it, concern among the industry seems to grow. Considering the state of the industry at this moment, leaving it to its own devices without the assistance of some sort of regulatory agency—be it the SRA or something else—would not bode well for its future.

The truth is that industries evolve and so do the institutions that support them, or at least they should. If they don’t, then they should be replaced or adapted, but the old adage of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater applies to this situation.

If the SRA has spiraled into a vortex of corruption and waste, as the President’s remarks insinuate, then do a proper investigation and root it out. The resignation of the current administrator is a good start, and she did just that. Now comes the political machinations to determine who will take her place in order to clean house and set the agency on a stronger path to support the industry into the future or to evolve it into another organism better suited to the industry’s current needs.

But that process needs to be an orderly one based on finding the right person for the job, not based on political ambitions or favours.

Instead of a rash abolition of the agency, parking it in some back corner office as the president mused, consultation among the industry’s various stakeholders should take the temperature of the situation and look at opportunities for improving the industry as a whole going forward. This could be a chance to build the SRA the industry needs, rather than what may have become the humdrum of daily goings on as can happen when businesses and organisations aren’t refreshed regularly.

Rather than a threat to the industry’s existence, this could be an opportunity to fashion the tools and support mechanisms the industry needs for a prosperous future, but that opportunity must be taken. For the good of farmers and millers alike, let’s hope that’s what comes about.

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