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Fertilizer subsidies, LGU rice procurement readied to cushion inflation impact of Ukraine crisis


THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is preparing for any inflation fallout from the invasion of Ukraine by allocating more funds to fertilizer subsidies, while arranging for more financing to provincial local government units (LGUs) seeking to procure and stock up on rice.

The financing initiative will expand a concessional loan program run by the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines to provincial governments to buy palay, or unmilled rice, to support their own farmers and serve as a source of affordable rice.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement that the measures will “boost food production, and provide our farmers, fishers, and rural folk much-needed income… If we fail to act now, the net result will be high food prices and inflation, resulting in food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition.”

Mr. Dar said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the measures and is set to issue an executive order to formalize such schemes.

Extra funding will go mainly to fertilizer subsidies for farmers planting rice, corn, high-value crops, sugarcane, and coconut. Funding will also go to urban and peri-urban agriculture, animal feed production using local materials, and the enhancement of aquaculture and ocean fishery output.

“High fuel prices directly impact on the cost of farm inputs, fertilizer, feed, and biologics,” Mr. Dar said.

“While the Philippines does not directly import fertilizer from either Russia and Ukraine — which account for 18% and 4%, respectively, of the global supply of urea — their conflict will greatly reduce the volume traded globally,” he added.

The DA also proposed to return the National Irrigation Administration to the department’s control to ensure “better water management” for agriculture. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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