In an attempt to meet the fertilizer requirement for the first planting season this year, the Department of Agriculture’s Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (DA-FPA) is negotiating with China to lower prices of its fertilizers.
The country needs 600,000 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer for the first planting season, according to FPA chief Wilfredo Roldan during a virtual briefer on Tuesday.
The DA inventory currently holds 200 MT.
“It is a real fact that the Philippines is a net importer of fertilizer, even if we have the PhilPhos (Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation) and Atlas (Fertilizer Corporation), but they are importing their raw materials,” he said.
To date, the price of the commonly imported fertilizer urea is $900 per ton, which will retail for P2,400 to P3,000 per bag.
In February and March 2021, it only cost about $300.
The price increase is caused by high demand in India, Australia, United States, and Brazil, while big suppliers, like China and Russia, are withholding their exports to ensure their domestic requirements are met, according to Roldan.
Urea is a low-cost nitrogen fertilizer form that promotes green leafy growth and make the plants look lush.
When China asked for a firm offer, Roldan said the DA set the price at $500.
“If they will agree on that, that will help us largely,” he said.
DA Secretary William Dar previously urged farm cooperatives to import fertilizers directly from international producers and suppliers.
He also ordered Roldan to look into a balanced strategy which will utilize non-traditional fertilizer.