Sugar industry group to cushion Afta effects

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SUGAR Industry Foundation Inc. (SIFI) president Edith Villanueva revealed Tuesday their plans to cushion the effect of the implementation of the Asian free Trade Agreement (Afta) to the sugar industry.

"We are training sugar farmers and workers to become sugar technicians as part of our efforts to prepare the industry stakeholders for 2015," Villaneuva said during the 43rd year anniversary of Sifi on Tuesday.

She said Sifi and the University of St. La Salle Bacolod are holding trainings for farmers on modern ways of plowing, farm preparation, and harvesting.


Meanwhile, Villanueva said that among the major achievements of the sugar industry is its scholarship programs.

"SIFI already has 75,000 educational grants for college degrees and skills training's," Villanueva said.

She said that aside from providing scholarships for children of sugar farm workers, Sifi also provides health care and conducts medical and dental missions, livelihood loans and enterprise developments and special projects during the off-season, the reduction of child labor in sugarcane and family and wellness projects.

Villanueva also said that Sifi continues to pursue the elimination of child labor in sugarcane in Bukidnon, Batangas, and Negros Occidental.

In Negros Occidental, the elimination of child labor was spearheaded by Confederation of Sugar Producers Association (Confed), Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), Department of Interior and local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), selected agrarian reform beneficiaries, and the Provincial Government.

In Negros Occidental, 12 barangays from La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Bacolod City, Talisay City, Victorias City, and Manapla have approved legislation on child labor.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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