Former Sugar Regulatory Administration Board Member Dino Yulo yesterday reiterated the call of farmers for the departments of Agriculture, and of Trade and Industry to do something to address the skyrocketing prices of fertilizer.
The unabated increase in fertilizer cost, despite calls to freeze prices, is causing trouble to the sugar industry now that the milling season is already peaking and sugar planting has commenced in many areas, Yulo said.
He noted that prices of fertilizer have more than doubled compared to last year, with Urea, which is the fertilizer grade heavily used by farmers, costing P2,300 to P2,400 per bag, compared to P900 per 50-kilo bag 18 months ago.
“We have been feeling the effects since the last planting season and, in fact, we called for national intervention, particularly from the DA and DTI several months ago, yet there has been no concrete action,” Yulo said.
“Coupled with that is the prices of petroleum products that have almost doubled as well, with diesel fuel breaching the P50 per liter mark,” he said, adding that the price hikes of two major farm inputs will definitely have a “severe impact” to the sugar industry.
With Typhoon Odette affecting most of southern Negros that even led to the temporary stoppage of a sugar mill operation, “our planters in the south may not be able to survive this crisis if the DTI will not step in and ensure that the cost of fertilizer is kept at bay,” Yulo said.
Since September, there have been appeals for fertilizer subsidies or a price cap on this particularly commodity, yet our appeal has not been acted upon, he added. | GB