As fertilizer prices spike, Philippines looks to China, Iran for supplies and discount

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2022 01:12 PM

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MANILA – It's not just oil prices that are going up. 

Fertilizer prices have also seen an uptick since the last quarter of 2021 due to increased global demand, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) said Monday.

Prices of fertilizer on the world market started to increase in the last quarter of 2021, said FPA Director Wilfredo Roldan. 

He said this price hike was due to strong demand from India and other countries and China's ban on exports of fertilizer. 

“Maraming bayan, [for] example Australia, increasing their agriculture, nag-increase din ang fertilizer. Ang problema, ang source, kulang po,” he explained.

Roldan said the Philippine government is already taking steps to address the uptick in fertilizer prices including raising the fertilizer subsidy and seeking other suppliers of inorganic fertilizer. 

“I don’t want to preempt the Department of Agriculture [William Dar] but, I heard during the last session with the honorable Secretary, that he has made some concession with the Office of the President, to increase the fertilizer subsidy for this year to P12 billion. Ngayon meron pa tayo P4 billion,” he said.

“We have connected with China na sana buksan nila ang ban ng fertilizer export," Roldan added. 

The country is also asking Indonesia, Malaysia and Iran for supplies, he said, but only Iran has so far made a firm offer. 

“It is a government-to-government transaction, but it is not the government that will import. It is the importers ‘no, the players of fertilizer in the Philippines, bigyan lang ng allocation and bigyan ng special price (give them an allocation and firm price).”

Iran said it was willing to give an 8 percent discount on fertilizers based on market prices, Roldan said. 

“But the current price is always volatile,” he added. 

Aside from these, however, Roldan said they are looking into lessening the country’s dependence on chemical fertilizers in favor of organic fertilizers.

“May mga fertilizer din na (There are fertilizers for) example, mga biorationals, microbial that will improve the soil so that it can generate the necessary nutrients for the plants, different types of plants,” he said.

Chemical fertilizers are made from fossil fuels, whose costs have also spiked recently due to high demand and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

--TeleRadyo, 7 March 2022