THE Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) has reiterated the demand of farmers for a P15,000 production subsidy.
The rising farming cost warrants an immediate solution, and the only substantial aid for food producers is a subsidy, said KMP chair Danilo Ramos.
"Napakataas ng presyo ng farm inputs lalo na ang abono. Last year, urea prices range from P800 to P900. This year, in most provinces, prices have increased from P1300 to P1600. Prices have doubled," Ramos said.
He said it is unacceptable that the DA's default solution is always importation.
Ramos said that forecasts state that fertilizer prices will continue to increase this year and probably until 2022.
"What can the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) do besides price monitoring? FPA Director Wilfredo Roldan said the increasing fertilizer prices are beyond their control. Eh, ano pang ginagawa at bakit nariyan pa ang FPA?" Ramos said.
In Congress, the Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution 2103 to probe the steadily rising fertilizer prices.
In Senate, Senator Migz Zubiri will file a resolution to investigate the fertilizer price hikes, especially the prices of urea, the most commonly used fertilizer by rice, corn, vegetable, and sugar farmers.
KMP said farmers will support the Congressional and Senate probes.
The KMP leader said oil price hikes in the past months have also impacted farming production costs.
Oil prices have increased by a cumulative of P13 per liter from January to July this year, Ramos said.
Farmers using 100 liters of petroleum for a water pump and 90 liters for hand tractor use have shelled out an additional P2,470 for petroleum use for a hectare of rice land, he added.
Lito Lumapas of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon said Central Luzon farmers are shocked with the ballooning fertilizer prices.
"Noong June 2020, nasa P950 per bag ng abono. Noong December, nagging P1,200. Nitong June 2021, umabot na sa P1,500 ang Swire at Triple 14 na abono. Mataas din ang presyo ng mga insecticide at pamatay-damo," Lumapas said.
"Ang isang isang litro, umaabot na rin sa isanlibong piso. In rice-producing provinces in the region, average fertilizer prices are at P1,500 as of August based on KMP's monitoring," he added.
For this cropping season, Lumapas said farmers have yet to receive any aid from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
"Noong isang taon, may iba na nabigyan ng isang bag na binhi at isang bag ng abono, pero napakaraming requirements ang kailangan. Ngayon taon, walang natanggap ang mga magsasaka. Lahat ay binibili ng mga magsasaka," he added.
In Bulacan, vegetable farmers from the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan, Cecilia Rapiz, said many farmers are not able to plant on time due to lack of production capital, according to Lumapas.
"Maraming magsasaka na ang hindi nakakapagtanim, walang pantustos sa pagsasaka. Hindi kaya na makabili ng isang sako ng abono. Kada kilo lang ang nabibiling abono," he said.