PH seeks cheaper fertilizer from China
The Philippines has begun negotiating with other fertilizer-producing countries, particularly China, in search for cheaper imports of the commodity in order to boost the country's stocks and arrest the increasing prices in the local market, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, FPA chief Wilfredo Roldan said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has made initial steps in negotiating with fertilizer-producing countries like China, Indonesia and Malaysia and Iran.
"We have made some progress. As of now, China has stopped their exports to other countries, including the Philippines. In our last negotiation, they were compassionate about dealing with the Philippines and I was portraying the need of fertilizers for our 110 million Filipinos for our food," he said.
The government of China, Roldan said, agreed "in principle" to supply the Philippines with its much needed fertilizer stocks. "Whatever we can, we will provide," the Chinese government said, according to Roldan.
"Cross our fingers... we are still negotiating with China. China was just asking me how much we need... they were asking me how much price we can absorb and I said whatever price you feel you can help the Filipino people," he added.
According to FPA, the country will need about 2.5 million metric tons (MT) of fertilizers for this year, with about 600,000-700,000 MT needed for the coming planting season. As of now, however, the Philippines has only about 200,000 MT fertilizer stocks.
The current average price of Urea, the most widely used fertilizer, is about $900 or P2,400-3,000 per 50-kilogram (kg) bag, Roldan said. This compares to just P850 per 50-kg bag in August 2020, which doubled to P1,600 per kg-bag in August last year.
Meanwhile, Roldan expressed optimism towards resolving the tight supply, and ultimately succeeding on the negotiation process with China. "I talked to IAD (International Affairs Division) of the DA. We set the price of $500 per 50-kilo bag. If and when they will agree on that then that will be a very big reduction on the price," he said.
Also, "Indonesia has already released some of their stocks," Roldan added.
For many years, the Philippines has been importing 41 percent of its fertilizer requirements from China, being the biggest center of fertilizer trading in the world. The rest is coming from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, and Belarus.
As a complimentary measure, the FPA chief urged local food producers to balance the use of non-traditional fertilizers "so you can hasten the dependence on inorganic fertilizers."
The Manila Times(2022, February 2). PH seeks cheaper fertilizer from China. The Manila Times. https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/02/02/business/top-business/ph-seeks-cheaper-fertilizer-from-china/1831476