by Julius Mariveles and Mira Nicole Magbanua
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Senior Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has proposed three possible measures that could provide long-term solutions to the continuing rise of fertilizer prices in the country.
He also said the billion-peso Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) could initially be tapped to subsidize farmers, including those in the sugar industry, who are affected by the soaring costs.
The ACEF was created by law in the mid-90s to serve as a safety net for the agriculture sector after the country signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and became a member of the World Trade Organization.
Zubiri, whose family has roots in the province and in the sugar industry, said subsidies cannot last forever and some ways to pull down chemical fertilizer prices must be considered.
The solon explained to DNX that one way is by strengthening organic fertilizer production that could serve to stabilize prices and act as a medium-term solution.
Another is for government to explore public-private partnerships that could lead to the putting up of fertilizer factories domestically similar to the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation.