DA prepares short and long term ways to reduce fertilizer prices
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday it was exploring various measures to help farmers cope with rising fertilizer prices, including a larger subsidy program as immediate relief. He is also looking to promote organic fertilizers as a long-term solution.
In a virtual press briefing, agriculture officials explained the measures, which are split at the political level and the farmer level, that the department is undertaking to address industry concerns over expensive fertilizers.
âWe need to approach the high costs of fertilizers holistically. So we are doing something at the government level and also doing something to make farmers more efficient in the use of fertilizers, âLeocadio S. Sebastian, Deputy Secretary-designate for Agriculture, told reporters.
Topping the list of measures, Sebastian said, is assessing the likelihood of providing additional subsidies to farmers to help them with their fertilizer spending. However, Sebastian stressed that another round and expansion of the fertilizer subsidy program “requires substantial funding.”
He added, âWe are looking at this and looking at how we can implement it. The DA previously launched a fertilizer subsidy program for rice farmers worth around 2.78 billion pesos.
Sebastian said the DA, in particular its attached agency, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), is exploring the possibility of implementing a suggested retail price (SRP) for fertilizer products.
âThe FPA will continue to monitor national and world prices as well as current local stocks and distribution of major grades of fertilizer. The DA is studying the possibility of setting an SRP, especially if the difference between the landed price and the retail price of fertilizers is large, he explained.
Sebastian said the FPA is also continuing its efforts to help agricultural cooperatives directly import fertilizers for their own use or even for domestic sale. Additionally, Sebastian said Planters Products Inc. is also considering importing more fertilizers and other organic products, such as soil conditioner products.
At the farmer level, Sebastian said the department will train farmers in good fertilizer management through its attached agency, the Office of Soil and Water Management (BSWM). Part of this training is to promote the use of organic fertilizers and the correct use and application of inorganic fertilizers.
âWe are going to intensify what we call balance fertilization, which is a combination of organic and inorganic combination.
For example, in rice production, we can increase the organic component of fertilizers, âhe said.
âIn addition, there are many techniques to optimize the use of urea. We have to avoid applying it at the wrong amount at the wrong time, âhe added.
The DA is also seeking to reduce the costs of other components of agriculture such as labor costs, by advocating more efficient planting methods such as direct seeding, a method which in itself lowers the costs of planting. P 6,000 farm labor force, said Sebastian.
The World Bank (WB) recently predicted that the average price of urea this year would be $ 380 per metric ton (MT), almost 66% higher than its average price of $ 229 per ton last year. .
The average price of DAP fertilizer this year could be $ 590 per tonne compared to its average price of $ 312 per tonne last year, according to WB projections.
The retail price of fertilizers in the Philippines in mid-October rose to 100 pesos per bag from their price levels in mid-September, based on the latest FPA data.
For example, the average price of DAP is now P1965.72 per 50 kilogram bag compared to P1895.97; while the average price of urea (pearl) is now at P 1,630.95 per bag compared to P 1,523.14 previously.
The price of urea (granulated) is now P1580.22 per bag from P1494.8 last month, while full fertilizer is now priced at P1404.23 per bag from P1353 , 43 P.