Zubiri to DA: Submit plan to address high fertilizer price
BACOLOD CITY––Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to submit a comprehensive action plan to address the soaring prices of fertilizers and provide farmers with subsidies to mitigate its effects.
“A few days ago, I talked with Agriculture Sec. William Dar. I approved the DA’s budget for 2022, with a colatilla that the DA should submit to the Senate a plan on how to address the problem on high fertilizer prices, and what concrete steps they would take to lower the prices of fertilizer,” the senator said in a meeting Nov. 13 with sugar industry leaders at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.
Prices of urea were at P800 to P900 per bag four months ago and now they are at more than P2,000, which would drive up the costs of commodities and have an inflationary effect on the economy, Zubiri also said in a press conference in this city.
The price of urea, a byproduct of fuel, is projected to rise to $100 from the current $80 per barrel.
“So we don’t see an end to the increase in the prices of fertilizer,” he said.
In his meeting with the sugar leaders, Zubiri said they agreed to come up with short, medium, and long-term solutions to the high cost of fertilizer.
The short-term solution is for the government to provide farmers with fertilizer subsidies.
“The DA gives farmers a P1,000-voucher as fertilizer subsidy but is asking for more funds to increase it, and we are going to try our best to add to their budget,” Zubiri said.
The medium-term solution, on the other hand, is to come up with an honest-to-goodness organic fertilizer program.
“Negros still leads the country in organic farming and agriculture,” he said.
The long-term solution, he said, is for the government to pursue public-private partnerships for the country to produce its fertilizer instead of importing.
“I will always protect the sugar industry because it is the lifeblood of Negros Occidental and 19 other provinces,” he said.
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