MANILA is eyeing to seal a government-to-government (G2G) fertilizer deal next month and take advantage of the falling prices of the commodity to supply local farmers with cheaper planting inputs.
Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel V. De Mesa said the current leadership of the Department of Agriculture (DA) wants to conclude its G2G negotiations on fertilizer supply next month.
De Mesa pointed out that securing a G2G deal that provides cheaper fertilizer to Filipino farmers is one of the marching orders of President Marcos Jr. to agriculture officials. Marcos is concurrently the country’s agriculture chief.
“There are on-going discussions together with possible sources in time for our budget next year. We are looking at all countries because the instruction of the President is to secure the cheapest supply,” he told reporters in a recent interview.
De Mesa explained that under a G2G agreement, the country may secure urea at a price of P1,800 per 50-kilogram bag, about P700 lower than the prevailing retail price of the fertilizer at P2,500 per 50-kilogram bag.
Since the previous administration, the agriculture department has been looking to secure a G2G deal that allows the Philippines to access cheaper fertilizers amid the skyrocketing price of the vital planting input in the world market due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The average price of Urea per 50-kilogram bag breached the P3,000-level this year at the height of the Ukraine-Russia war.
“We want to secure the [G2G] transactions as early as possible to ensure sufficient supply and ensure that prices will no longer increase,” De Mesa said.
One of the countries that Manila is keen on doing a G2G fertilizer deal with is China, he added.
De Mesa said part of the fineprint they will finalize in the coming weeks are the volume and amount that the G2G fertilizer deal would entail.
De Mesa added that the softening of world fertilizer prices is a welcome development for the Philippines since it would translate to the possibility of purchasing more supply.
“We are looking at the most advantageous deal for the government. The President wants to get the deal at the lowest price to get more volume,” he said.
De Mesa explained that a portion of the budget for the G2G supply may come from the P13-billion fertilizer subsidy program of the DA. At present, the DA is implementing a fertilizer voucher program to help farmers cope with the spike in the price of the planting input.