THE GOVERNMENT needs to establish a fertilizer database to improve transparency on the cost components that go into prices charged by dealers, according to the findings of a study conducted by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).

“This will result in more accurate data and help improve price studies in the future. Moreover, reporting of price values in averages only might not be an accurate representation of the dealer’s prices given the differences in prices per region,” the FPA reported.

“To further improve the inventory monitoring (of) fertilizer… batch numbers of importers and local producers should cover sources of origin, manufacturing dates, dates of arrival, and landed costs for imports,” it added.

Regional dealer prices should be based on sources of origin plus logistics costs, in accordance with a prescribed price matrix, according to the report.

“Importing companies are urged to coordinate and order bulk imports from certain countries, if possible, to avail of lower prices and discounts and save freight costs,” the study concluded.

The FPA reported that fertilizer prices rose sharply worldwide, even before the war in Ukraine. The international price of urea rose to $393.25 per metric ton (MT) in June 2021 from $216 per MT in June 2020.

“Global fertilizer prices increased during 2021 with limited supply brought about by the disruption of production and transportation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, higher input costs, the hike in fuel prices, trade disputes and geopolitics, and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine,” it added.

Fertilizer prices in the Philippines started to increase in mid-2021 and surged towards the end of the year, according to the study.

“The Philippines, as a net importer of fertilizer, is vulnerable to rising fertilizer prices (as the) COVID-19 pandemic caused fertilizer shortages around the globe,” it added.

The report recommended that the government conclude bilateral agreements with countries producing fertilizer to bring down costs.

It also recommended “market assistance in regions where fertilizer is expensive to ensure supply and lower fertilizer prices by reducing additional transportation costs,” it said.

The FPA also proposed the adoption of alternatives like organic, microbial, and biorational fertilizer to reduce dependence on chemical fertilizer. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson