FARMERS’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Sunday urged the Agriculture department to revoke the biofertilizer program, citing “flawed” distribution guidelines based on prevailing fertilizer rates.
In a statement, SINAG Chairman Rosendo O. So said the basis of the program, Department of Agriculture (DA) Memorandum Order No. 32 dated April 27, is inconsistent with current fertilizer prices.
The memo sets the guidelines on the distribution and use of biofertilizers this year to improve rice output.
The program is intended to help farmers save input cost by distributing biofertilizers equivalent to at least two bags of inorganic urea fertilizer.
The Palace has said that President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., who also heads the DA, wants to increase the use of biofertilizers to reduce dependence on imported fertilizers.
However, Mr. So said the memo’s price basis is not in line with the actual cost of urea at P1,00 per bag.
“At least two bags per hectare, the cost of urea is only P2,200 per hectare, contrary to the claim of MO 32 of P4,000 per hectare,” he said.
He added that their group is also opposed to the “savings” referred to in the memo as the DA’s official bidding price for urea was at P1,230 per bag.
“We are disturbed by the arbitrary insistence of biofertilizers, premised on the false claim of high urea prices. Biofertilizers have yet to be proven, in commercial scale, of a higher yield or as being more cost-efficient to our rice farmers,” said Mr. So.
“If the objective is to lower production cost, pushing for biofertilizer is not the solution.”
Mr. So said the DA must instead encourage the use of compost chicken waste which is at P170 per kilogram.
“We are worried that another scandal that could approximate the fertilizer scam of the previous years may resurface,” he said.
In February 2009, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee concluded based on its investigation that “massive corruption” has been involved in the procurement and distribution of fertilizers in the Philippines.
In letters dated May 4 addressed to Mr. Marcos and Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the committee on agriculture and food, sought “immediate intervention to revoke MO 32.” — Sheldeen Joy Talavera