Lawmakers seek fertilizer probe
Four congressmen have asked a committee of the House of Representatives to assess the cost effectiveness of fertilizers that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to procure and give out to farmers aiming to boost the country’s rice production.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr., Bicol Saro party list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan, Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez and Bataan Rep. Albert Garcia filed House Resolution No. 972, urging the committee on agriculture and food to look into government subsidies on fertilizer.
In a joint statement released on Wednesday, the lawmakers cited the heavy dependence of farmers on fertilizers and other farm inputs to boost agricultural productivity, noting a DA report which pegged at 2.6 million metric tons the country’s annual requirement for fertilizer, 95 percent of which is imported.
“The spike in oil prices also saw a corresponding increase in prices of fertilizers, which are a byproduct of oil,” they pointed out, adding: “The Philippines virtually has no control over factors affecting the cost of farm inputs as it is a net importer of fuel and fertilizer.”
The congressmen noted that the DA on April 27 ordered the creation of guidelines for the distribution and use of biofertilizers “to conquer the high price of inputs and promote alternative inputs such as biofertilizers.”
They further cited President Marcos’ pronouncement that the push for biofertilizers is intended to cut farmers’ use of imported petroleum-based fertilizers.
“The increasing costs of imported inputs that shrink the incomes of our local farmers are also affecting the consumers who bear the brunt of higher food prices because the increase in production costs [is] passed on,” the lawmakers noted.