‘Odette’ reduces fertilizer supply in Visayas

A worker holds a handful of refined potash in a storage barn at the Nutrien Ltd. Cory potash mine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, on August 12, 2019.

Over 8,000 50-kilogram (kg) bags of fertilizers worth nearly P13 million were damaged by Typhoon Odette, putting pressure on the country’s supply of the farm input, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) said.

FPA, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said licensed warehouses owned by nine fertilizer handlers in five regions were struck by Odette last December.

“A total of 8,312 bags of fertilizers in different grades were among the assets damaged by the typhoon, accounting for around 415,600 kilograms of quality compromised fertilizer stocks in said provinces,” it said in a recent statement.

“Handlers such as the Cardinal Farm Supply accounted for 4,492 bags in Surigao del Norte, while the Atlas Fertilizer Company accounted for 2,547 bags in Cebu and the Falcor Marketing Corporation 1,031 bags in Negros Occidental.”

The FPA said it conducted the monitoring of affected areas last December and released the results last Monday. The agency pegged the estimated value of compromised fertilizers at P12.96 million.

“The provinces of Surigao del Norte, Cebu City, and Negros Occidental constituted 97 percent of the total value with P6.45 million, P4.15 million, and P1.92 million, respectively,” it added.

Based on FPA data, the typhoon damaged bags of ammonium sulphate, complete fertilizer and muriate of potash worth P2.79 million, P2.79 million, and P3.91 million, respectively. Odette also destroyed bags of urea valued at P1.64 million.

“Despite the recorded damages, prices of fertilizers will not be affected, and the importation prices will still dictate their prices,” the FPA said.

However, data released by the FPA showed that there is a shortage of fertilizer in Odette-affected provinces of Palawan, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Southern Leyte and Surigao del Norte.

“Based on the current fertilizer stock inventory of January 24-28, 2022, all affected provinces have insufficient fertilizer to supply the estimated recommendation except for the Urea and Muriate of Potash [MOP] in Negros Occidental,” it said.

Based on FPA’s computation, the total recommended fertilizer in all affected provinces stood at 3.010 million 50-kilogram bags while total supply was only at 947,624 50-kilogram bags. The FPA based its computations on the recommended fertilizer use per crop and current fertilizer stock inventory as of January 24 to 28.

“To mitigate the problem, alternative sources of fertilization should be used. For Coconut, green manure like ipil-ipil and farm organic wastes such as manure of cattle, carabao, pig, goat, chicken, compost, and night soil can be used to replace part of the commercial fertilizer requirements,” the FPA said.

“Coconut crown residues as organic fertilizer and nitrogen-fixing legumes can substitute for Ammonium Sulphate as N-sources while cocopeat and husk may used for chlorine,” the FPA added.

The FPA said it is currently negotiating with China to secure a fertilizer supply deal to help Filipino farmers cope with the spike in the prices of fertilizer grades. Prices have more than doubled to P2,500 per 50-kg bag.

The Philippines is offering to buy urea from China at $500 per metric ton, lower than prices quoted in Europe but higher compared to some China commodity exchanges. (Related story here: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/02/01/phl-talks-to-china-on-fertilizers-as-prices-soar/).

Image credits: James MacDonald/Bloomberg


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