Bill filed on fertilizer subsidy




The Manila Times


A LAWMAKER has filed a bill seeking to implement a national fertilizer and pesticide program for qualified farmers amid the rise in the prices of farm inputs. AGRI party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee said House Bill (HB) 3528 or the “National Fertilizer Subsidy Act” aims to institutionalize a fertilizer and pesticides subsidy program. “In our pursuit to attain genuine food security and self-sufficiency, we need to acknowledge that fertilizers and pesticides play significant roles in boosting our crops’ yield and production. As the prices of these crop inputs continue to increase, farmers are forced to purchase a smaller amount of fertilizer than recommended, which might result in much lesser production,” Lee said. Lee added that based on the AGRI party-list’s monitoring, the unabated increase in prices of agricultural inputs, particularly fertilizers, has almost tripled in just 18 months. He said that the price of urea increased from an estimate of P900 to P950 per bag in 2021 to P2,240 to P2,920 in February 2022. According to Lee, this would mean that around P1,340 to P1,970 per bag will be added in an average of six to eight bags per hectare used by rice farmers. “This alarming situation will undeniably cripple our farmers; all our efforts in increasing productivity will go in vain if we fail to protect our small farmers from this ‘fertilizer crisis,’” Lee added. Under the proposed measure, the Department of Agriculture shall implement the program for qualified farmers. “Through this bill, we assure our agricultural sector that we respond and guarantee them that in scenarios of high prices of these agricultural inputs, subsidies are available as we separately push to sustainably increase its local manufacturing and production,” Lee added. Under HB 3528, the subsidies will come through the form of actual fertilizer bags or subsidy vouchers depending on the prevailing market prices and geographical and logistical challenges of the regions.