Fertilizer subsidies needed to prevent inflation: Kiko

The House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture is calling for an increase in fertilizer subsidies for farmers to cushion their rising cost of production, and to prevent inflationary effects towards the end of the year, Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez (Negros Occidental, 3rd District) said Tuesday, February 8.

A bill has also been filed in the House calling for exempting fertilizers and pesticides used in rice, corn and sugar production from taxes.

“The production of rice, corn and sugar in the Philippines has been a constant mainstay in the agricultural configuration of our country. However, the increasing cost of fertilizers to sustain it has become a cause of alarm to our farmers,” Rep. Michael Gorriceta (Iloilo, 2nd District), who introduced House Bill 10680, said.

Benitez, vice chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, said that government should address the high prices of fertilizer or it will drive up the cost of basic commodities.

“Because rice, corn sugar are heavily dependent on industrial fertilizers the worry is there might be some level of inflation towards the end of the year, which we would rather avoid,” he said

The cost of production will be embedded into the price of commodities at the end of the year when they come out, he said.

He said the House Committee on Agriculture has sent a letter to the Office of the President for the release of emergency funding for the fertilizer subsidy program of the Department of Agriculture but they have not received a response yet.

“Hopefully it will not be forgotten because of time constrains,” he added.

Balancing off the increase in fuel and fertilizer costs is going to be challenge for whoever sits in the new administration, Benitez also said

On the complaints against the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s allowing a large importation of sugar, Benitez said a balance should be reached and planters should be consulted.*

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