The unabated increase in fertilizer cost despite calls for a freeze price increase is causing trouble in the sugar industry now that the milling season is peaking and sugar planting has commenced in many areas, Dino Yulo, former Sugar Regulatory Administration board member, said Friday, January 28.
Yulo said that prices of fertilizers have more than doubled compared to last year.
Urea, which is the fertilizer grade most heavily used by farmers, was selling around P900 per 50-kilo bag of urea about 18 months ago, and we are now buying it at P2,300-2,400 per bag, Yulo said.
“We have been feeling the effects since the last planting season and in fact, we called out several months ago for national intervention, particularly to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), yet there has been no concrete action,” he said.
“Coupled with that is also the petroleum price hike that has almost doubled as well, with diesel fuel breaching the P50 per liter mark,” Yulo said, adding that these price hike in two major farm inputs will definitely have a “severe impact” in the sugar industry.
With Typhoon Odette affecting most of southern Negros that even led to the temporary stoppage of a sugar mill, “our planters in the south may not be able to survive this crisis if DTI will not step in and ensure that fertilizers’cost are kept at bay,” Yulo said.
Since September there have been appeals for fertilizer subsidies and setting a price cap on this, yet our appeal that has not been acted on, he said.
“This alone has led to our production cost skyrocketing as well. And with the sugar planting season now commencing, we do not know how our producers can survive this, especially the farmers in the south,” Yulo added.*