THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said fertilizer from overseas suppliers to ease price pressures on farmers must arrive by the next planting season in October.
“We are continuing to research and source cheaper fertilizer, which is very important for our farmers right now,” Undersecretary-designate for Consumer and Political Affairs and DA spokesperson Kristine Y. Evangelista said.
The DA’s National Rice Program (NRP) will lead the fertilizer import initiative, according to Ms. Evangelista.
“Together with the NRP, we are studying the appropriate schedule of utilizing fertilizer. We are counting the days, from the time of planting, and how many days is required to use fertilizer,” she said.
Ms. Evangelista said that the DA and regional field offices will guide farmers in availing of credit programs.
“Financial assistance is available. It is just a matter of applying as an individual farmer or a cooperative. As of now, we are really pushing for clustering and cooperativism,” she said.
“We encourage farmers to register under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) so they can avail of the many interventions and support from the government,” she added.
The DA is looking into government-to-government agreements with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates to ensure favorable prices.
“The logistics are very important. Even if it’s cheap, if it comes from somewhere far away, it will end up being more expensive. We are looking at strategic sources for fertilizer,” she said.
“We are currently conducting a national inventory of our facilities (to) maximize fertilizer storage (and) food mobilization as well,” she added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson