Politics

Efforts to make fertilizer more affordable ongoing — DTI

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THE Trade department is in discussions to help bring down fertilizer prices for farmers, an official said on Thursday.

“Regarding initiatives related to making fertilizer more affordable, discussions are ongoing,” Trade Undersecretary Carol P. Sanchez told reporters via Viber after being asked to comment. 

Discussions on providing more affordable fertilizer for local farmers are ongoing as part of government efforts to boost local food production and supply, an official from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Thursday.

Ms. Sanchez declined to elaborate, saying that “it would be premature for Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual to comment further at this time.”  

The Office of the President, through its official Facebook posted on Wednesday that President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. met with DTI officials to discuss plans to access cheaper fertilizer.

Asked to comment, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura Executive Director Jayson H. Cainglet said that the current retail price of fertilizer has surged to P2,250 per 50-kilogram bag from P850 per bag last year.

“We met the President last week, together with the fertilizer industry. We laud efforts by the President in procuring cheaper fertilizer imports; either through government-to-government (G2G) or directly requesting importers to reduce prices,” Mr. Cainglet said via mobile phone.

Mr. Marcos has said the government will pursue fertilizer deals with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates on a G2G basis.

Federation of Free Farmers National Manager Raul Q. Montemayor said in a Viber message that the government should consider working on distribution plans while hammering out the G2G arrangements.

“I am not sure if the DTI is the right agency to handle fertilizer imports. Also, you need a lot of logistics to handle fertilizers. If price control is the objective, the local government units would be the better implementers,” Mr. Montemayor said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave