Press Release
August 30, 2015


Sen. Francis Escudero is urging the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) to initiate talks with manufacturers and distributors about the possibility of a fertilizer price rollback amid the historically low price of oil in the world market.

Escudero said that while fertilizer prices are deregulated, the FPA can pressure manufacturers to lower the retail rates of their products for the benefit of small farmers.

"Kapag hindi po natin ginawa iyan at hinayaan natin ang mga negosyante na magtalaga ng sarili nilang presyo ay hindi natin talaga matutulungan ang sektor ng agrikultura sapagkat wala naman pong batas na naglalagay ng price cap sa ganyang farm input. Ibig sabihin, habang lumalaki ang kita ng mga negosyante, mananatiling lugmok sa kahirapan ang mga magsasaka dahil sa laki ng binabayaran nila," Escudero said.

The senator noted that in 2008, fertilizer prices dropped by as much as 43 percent after the Department of Agriculture (DA) asked fertilizer suppliers to bring down their retail rates to reflect the low price of oil.

Escudero said he sees no reason why the FPA, which is under the Office of the President, could not make the same call now.

"Wala akong nakikitang dahilan para hindi ibaba ang presyo ng mga pataba sa lupa. Kahit bawasan nila ang retail price niyan, kikita pa rin naman ang mgamanufacturers at distributors dahil sa baba ng presyo ng langis ngayon. Siguradong malaki na ang natipid nila sa production cost," said the senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

According to a study released last year, fertilizers were cheapest in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas and Davao; ironically, they are most expensive in the poorest regions of the country such as the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.

Escudero said the FPA should scrutinize the prevailing prices of fertilizers amid complaints that the retail rates of said farm inputs are not commensurate to the reduction in manufacturing costs brought about by the huge drop in oil prices.

The price of U.S. 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.

"Our farmers are already facing the threat of a strong El Niño in the coming months. They need all the help they can get to augment their finances as they brace for possible crop losses because of the prevailing dry spell," Escudero said.

The FPA, which is mandated to ensure adequate supply of fertilizers and pesticides at reasonable costs, was transferred from the DA to the Office of the President last year via Executive Order No.165.

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