Plant, plant, plant? PH bumper crops sold at bargain prices

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 12:24 PM

A Talaandig farmer brings his vegetable produce on a horse to the markets in Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon on Oct. 29, 2021. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News/File
A Talaandig farmer brings his vegetable produce on a horse to the markets in Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon on Oct. 29, 2021. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—Farmers groups on Friday lamented that their produce is being sold at bargain prices amid rising fertilizer and oil prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Jose Vidal of Occidental Mindoro Provincial Farmers Action Council said farmers were not earning enough to cover the costs of producing their crop.

"Ang problema po talaga kahit na mag-produce tayo ng marami ng marami ng ating agricultural products pero kung sa pamilihan ay walang bibili, mabubulok lang po talaga 'yan," he told TeleRadyo.

In Occidental Mindoro, farmers sell their onions for P20 per kilo, from P30-P40.

"Mas mababa pa ang presyo ng produkto namin kaysa dun sa aming ginagastos. Paano kami makakabangon kahit na mag-plant-plant tayo?" he said.

Fernando Bagyan of Apit Tako Kordilyera said farmers were either forced to sell their produce at a loss or left with rotting vegetables.

"Marami [ang supply] kaso nga lang nabubulok, walang bumibili. Sobrang baba ng presyo," he said in a separate TeleRadyo interview.

For example, the wholesale price of cabbage has gone down to P9-P10, Bagyan said. One farmer even sold his celery for P5 per kilo, he added.

Bagyan said some farmers just leave their produce to rot in fields and use it as fertilizer.

"Problema talaga ang marketing, napakamura, nakakaiyak ang presyo," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has recently approved measures proposed by the Department of Agriculture to cushion the impact of global economic challenges and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia on the country's food security.

The measures approved by the President include additional budget to fund the second part of the DA’s flagship “Plant, Plant, Plant” program, which the agency said seeks to increase national agri-fishery output through intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate inputs and modern technologies to increase levels of productivity across all commodities.

The bulk of the recommended additional budget would be allotted for the provision of fertilizer subsidy to farmers planting rice, corn, high-value crops, sugarcane, and coconut, the DA said.

Funds will also be utilized for urban and peri-urban agriculture, production of animal feeds using local materials, enhancement of aquaculture and mariculture fishery production, and food mobilization and logistics through the “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” marketing program, the agency added.

While the Philippines does not directly import fertilizer from either Russia and Ukraine, which account for 18 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of the total global supply of urea, their conflict would greatly reduce the volume traded globally, the DA said.

To mitigate the impact of high fertilizer prices worldwide, the DA, through Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, is currently holding bilateral discussions with fertilizer producing countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, and China.

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