Farmers urge Congress to probe rising fertilizer prices

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged lawmakers to probe the steadily rising fertilizer prices burdening rice farmers. There is an urgent need to probe the real cause of the skyrocketing fertilizer prices and to know the actions of the DA-FPA in addressing this important concern. 

Since May this year, fertilizer prices have constantly increased, further burdening rice farmers who are shouldering the entire cost of production. “Rising fertilizer prices will affect the domestic rice production, the livelihood of rice farmers, and our rice productivity and self-sufficiency,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos says.   

According to Nueva Ecija farmers interviewed by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), starting August, the retail prices of Triple 14 or complete urea further increased to P1,500 per 50-kilogram bag, considered unreasonable and exorbitant by farmers. In Isabela, fertilizer prices increased by as much as P200 to P250 per bag while in Tarlac, prices went up by as much as P400 per bag. 

Monitoring of KMP chapters in provinces

Per 50-kg bag of urea fertilizerJuly PriceAugust Price
TarlacTriple 14 Php1,100 Php1,500
Nueva EcijaSwire 46-0-0Triple 14 Php970Php1,250 Php1,200Php1,500
IsabelaTriple 14 Php1,100 Php1,350-Php1,400

According to the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), the average price of fertilizer imported by the country was at $500 per metric ton (MT) as of July which is higher than the $276 per MT average price registered from January to May this year. 

Average fertilizer prices have increased by as much as 40.5 percent on an annual basis depending on the grade. In the last week of July, the average price of granular urea rose by 40.5 percent to P1,393.32 per 50-kilogram bag from P991.45 per 50-kilogram bag in the same period last year, and also higher than the P1,130 registered in May.

While the FPA gave assurance that the country has sufficient inventory stocks of fertilizer that can last until the next cropping season or almost 300,000 metric tons (MT) as of June 21, 2021, there is a need to probe why the retail price of fertilizer is constantly increasing. 

KMP slammed the Department of Agriculture for its default solution to further import fertilizer to address the rising prices. Bago isipin ng DA ang pag-iimport bilang tanging solusyon, dapat tingnan muna nito kung nagagawa ba ng FPA ang mandato nito na iregulate ang supply, demand at bentahan ng fertilizer. Dapat din magpaliwanag ang DA kung saan napunta ang P10-billion na pondo ng Rice Competetive Enhancement Fund o RCEF na pantulong dapat sa mga magsasaka ng palay. Ang problema, walang subsidyo para sa farm inputs at fertilizer sa RCEF,” according to former DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano, also the leader of KMP and Anakpawis.  

According to the national peasant women federation AMIHAN, additional fertilizer costs will trim down a farmer’s profit to P198 from P302 a day, which could go even lower with the expected decline in palay prices during the lean months of September and October. ###

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