FERTILIZER SUBSIDIES can help temper the possibility of higher rice prices amid rising input costs, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“If rice prices increase on the world market, local rice prices will follow. If production declines this main rainy season due to high fertilizer and gasoline prices, and higher world rice prices, we will see signiIfcannot raise rice prices by the end of this year,” DA Undersecretary Fermin D. Adriano said in a statement.
“Thus, it is imperative that the government provide subsidies to farmers now for fertilizers and gasoline, to avoid a drop in productivity,” he added.
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the department currently has 3 billion pesos in fertilizer subsidies for rice and corn farmers, but more is needed to meet farmers’ needs. during the wet sowing season.
“We need more, and that’s why we asked the national government to give us about 6 billion pesos more – so a total of 9 billion pesos is needed to give us [a] the fertilizer subsidy in this rainy season… any opportunity to increase local rice production is needed,” he said during a virtual briefing on Thursday.
“Otherwise, the drop in production may occur because farmers are not able to apply the levels of fertilization they had last year,” he added.
Mr. Dar said the DA was also working to expand its sources of rice imports to meet demand.
“So that we can still buy the same prices now which are very affordable. India is one of the markets where you can buy [that] price,” he added.
The agriculture secretary said President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s proposal to lower the price of a kilo of rice to P20 would be supported by the department, although it would take time and research.
“I like the aspiration of our president-elect and we are looking at all the possibilities we have to solve this problem with various stakeholders. We must identify the gaps, the challenges and put in place a program designed in this direction”, has he declared.
“It will take time before we can move to the near P20. I say it publicly, I am for working on designing programs and solutions through a value chain approach to get closer to the P20,” he added.
In May, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 135, which reduces tariffs on rice imports from non-ASEAN countries from 50% to 35% for a one-year period to reduce the country’s dependence on Vietnam and other ASEAN rice exporters.
Farmers’ group the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said in a statement that the reduced tariffffs will not result in lower rice prices.
“There was no urgent need to issue the EO. Rice prices and stocks remained stable. Imports continued to flow and even increased during the Iffirst quarter of the year. Obviously, Mr. Duterte, at the behest of his economic officials, simply wanted to get ahead of Congress before it resumed its sessions,” said FFF national director Raul Q. Montemayor.
UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said these tariffsff policies can affect rice prices and subsequently, inflation.
“Rice has been a major component of inflation and has caused huge increases in inflation levels in the past. So far, rice inflation has been stable and has not been a major factor. in recent inflationary spikes. While price controls are not the ultimate solution, we need to look at the impact of this type of policy, especially in these very volatile times for the global economy,” he said. he said in an email.
“The government needs to be very careful and be product specificIfc in its responses to policy change. However, I continue to believe that the government must opt for longer-term solutions rather than quick fixes.Ifx answers like this,” he added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson