MANILA, Philippines – A rollback in the price of fertilizer is being eyed through talks between the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) and manufacturers and distributors.
The FPA can pressure manufacturers to lower the retail prices of their products for the benefit of small farmers, according to Sen. Francis Escudero.
“If we allow businessmen to dictate their own price, we will not be able to help the agricultural sector because no law has placed a price cap on that farm input,” he said in Filipino.
“That means while businessmen earn more profits, farmers will continue to suffer in poverty because of the huge payments that they will make.”
He sees no reason why the FPA, which is under the Office of the President, could not make fertilizer suppliers bring down their retail as the Department of Agriculture (DA) had done in 2008, according to the Senate committee on environment and natural resources chairman.
“Even if the retail prices of fertilizers are lowered, manufacturers and distributors will still earn profits,” he said. “I’m sure they had saved a lot in production cost.”
Cheapest in Ilocos
Fertilizers are cheapest in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas and Davao, and the most expensive in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Eastern Visayas, Escudero quoted a study released last year.
The retail prices of fertilizer are not commensurate to the reduction in manufacturing costs brought about by the huge drop in oil prices, he added.
The price of US light crude dropped 5.5 percent, hitting $38.24 a barrel on Aug. 26, the lowest rate since February 2009.
The FPA’s weekly price monitoring covering the period Aug. 10-14 showed that a 50 kg bag of Triple 14 still has an average price of P1,156.88; a 21-0-0 still costs P558.36; and 16-20-0 is still sold at P977.99 per bag.
(The Philippine Star)