NEGRENSE Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is filing a resolution pushing for an investigation on the significant increase in the prices of fertilizer in the country.
The senate majority leader, in a virtual press conference with the members of Negros Occidental media Thursday, August 12, 2021, reported that the price of Urea, for instance, went up by almost double.
Zubiri said Urea comprises the bulk of the fertilzer consumption in the country, at around 60 to 70 percent.
"The price increased from P900 to 1,500 [per bag]," he said, adding that this is currently one of the major problems faced by the local sugar farmers.
The senator is also eyeing to request the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) to control the fertilizer prices by coming up with a ceiling or suggested retail price (SRP).
He expressed a pressing need to monitor the price of the product as it can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders.
"They can unduly increase the prices knowing the high demand of fertilizers in the market," Zubiri said.
"We are not talking about 10 to 20 percent increase here but of 90 percent or almost double the price. So kaluluoy sang aton farmers," he added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas earlier said Philippines is not spared from the global dilemma of price increase in fertilizers and it will remain high this year.
The regional line agency, in a statement, said expansion of agricultural areas and stockpiling in other countries increased the demand for major grade fertilizers thus, affecting the supply in the global market.
It said the country has two manufacturing plants of fertilizers.
However, the production is not enough to supply the entire farm input requirements of the country. This resulted in importation from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) Regional Officer Noel Negre assured farmers in Western Visayas that the supply of fertilizers in the region is enough despite the current supply problem.
He added that the increase in raw materials and freight costs also contributed to the increase of fertilizers.
Based on the regional price for the last three months, the granular Urea and T14 were noted to have the biggest price difference with 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively, followed by 0-0-60 (12 percent), 21-0-0 (11 percent), and 16-46-0 (five percent).
The agency reported that among the six provinces in Western Visayas, Urea is currently most expensive in Antique at P1,563 per bag.
With the continuous increase in the price of fertilizers, the FPA regularly conducts monitoring on selected distributer to avoid overpricing, it added.
For Zubiri, their group in the Senate, the Sugar Block, will continue to monitor these developments particularly the rising prices of fertilizer.
He said they will also work on ensuring proper implementation of the Sugar Industry Development Act.
"This is to ensure that farmers are getting the necessary help especially with regards to the taxation measures imposed by the Department of Finance," the senator said, adding that "our farmers should not suffer from over-taxation."