P15-B fertilizer subsidy sought for rice farmers | Inquirer Business
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Price of urea more than doubled

P15-B fertilizer subsidy sought for rice farmers

The government may need to increase the budget for fertilizer subsidies for this year or the Philippines may end up with a reduction in palay (unhusked rice) output, the Department of Agriculture said.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, outgoing Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the incoming administration needs to set aside P15 billion to sustain the record-high production of rice farmers.

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The country’s rice production in 2021 reached 19.96 million metric tons (MT), exceeding the previous record high level of 19.29 million MT last year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

“According to the latest calculations if we want sustained level of productivity and production volume like last year if not better 19 million MT, and with the balanced fertilization strategy reducing 50 percent of chemical fertilizer with biofertilizer, you need to spend P15 billion,” Dar told reporters.

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The agency said the first-semester palay yield decreased by 6.8 percent. This translates to a reduction of 1.1 million MT to 1.3 million MT or almost 842,000 MT of rice.

Dar blamed the output decline on low utilization of fertilizer among rice farmers, who have been continuously grappling with skyrocketing fertilizer costs.

Based on the data from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, the price of urea, the most commonly used fertilizer grade, as of June 6 to 10 averaged P2,943.63 per 50-kilo bag, an increment of 143.9 percent from only P1,207.14 per 50-kilo bag a year ago.

“That’s why we’re hopeful of additional and significant fertilizer subsidy to fill the gap towards increasing volume so that, by the end of the year, we can increase our production locally.” Dar said.

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TAGS: fertilizer subsidy, rice farmers
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