THE Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, rice watch group Bantay Bigas, and Anakpawis Party-list urged the government to immediately act on the soaring prices of urea fertilizer.

The prices of urea increased from an estimate of P900 to P950 per bag in 2021 to P2,240 to P2,920 in February 2022, according to these groups.

They said an estimate of P1,340 to P1,970 per bag was added in an average of six to eight bags per hectare used by rice farmers.

"Rice farmers decry the exorbitant price hike of fertilizers. It is burden for them who have almost no income due to the very high cost of farming, depressed farm gate palay price for only P12 to P17.20 per kilo and lack of support from the government," said Cathy Estavillo, secretary-general of Amihan and Anakpawis Party-list.

Amihan and Anakpawis Party-list reached out to its chapters to compile the prevailing prices of urea in various provinces and urged the government to act on this matter.

This month, the prices are P2,240 to P2,450 in Albay, Nueva Ecija, and Sultan Kudarat; P2,500 to P2,600 in Tarlac, Cagayan, Negros Occidental, Pampanga, and Misamis Oriental; P2,700 to P2,900 in Pangasinan, Palawan, Catanduanes, Capiz; and P3,500 in Masbate.

In Pampanga, the rice farmers said that last August 2021, they only bought P920 per bag of fertilizer. They said the fertilizer increased by P1,600 after three months. Last planting season, the price soared to P2,600 per bag.

"For those running for government offices, you must put primacy to the demand of the Filipino farmers such as production support and subsidy. They are our food security frontliners and their ill state is detrimental to the whole population. The prevailing prices for fertilizers and other farm inputs should be affordable and not be controlled or imposed by private traders," Estavillo said.

"Groups reiterated its calls for the provision of P15,000 agricultural production subsidy for rice farmers and P10,000 social amelioration for poor families," she added.