‘Act on fertilizer price hike’

(Photo from textspin.blogspot / File photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Former Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board member Atty. Dino Yulo said the unabated increase in fertilizer prices is causing trouble to the sugar industry now that the milling season is already peaking and sugar planting has commenced in many areas.

Yulo said they have been calling for a price freeze after prices of fertilizers have more than doubled compared to 2021.

Urea, which is the fertilizer grade most heavily used by farmers, was selling around P900 per 50-kilo bag of urea about 18 months ago.

“We are now buying it at P2,300-2,400 per bag,” Yulo said.

Yulo added they have been feeling the effects of price hike since the last planting season and they already called several months ago for national intervention, particularly from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry, but there had been no concrete action.

“Coupled with that is also the petroleum price hike that has almost doubled as well, with diesel fuel breaching the P50 per liter mark,” Yulo said.

He added that price hikes in two major farm inputs will definitely have a “severe impact” in the sugar industry.

With super typhoon “Odette” affecting most of southern Negros that even led to the temporary stoppage of sugar mills, planters in the south may not be able to survive this crisis if DTI will not step in and ensure that fertilizers’ cost are kept at bay.

Since September 2021, there have been appeals for fertilizer subsidies and setting a price cap on this commodity, yet their appeal has not been acted upon.

“This alone has led to our production cost skyrocketing as well. And with the sugar planting season now commencing, we do not know how our producers can survive this, especially the farmers in the south,” Yulo added.

Last year, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson hoped that the national leaders will address concerns surrounding the sharp rise on the price of fertilizers.

Lacson suspects the reason behind the sharp increase in fertilizer cost was due to the high cost of fuel.

Meanwhile, Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. (Confed) President Raymond Montinola said they have expressed concern over the situation which may result in low farmers’ productivity and affect the government’s food security program.