Gov't to teach biofertilizer use to ease farmers' woes

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said that the government will now introduce and teach farmers how to use biofertilizers to lessen their dependence on expensive, imported, petroleum-based ones.

(MB file, Keith Bacongco)

Marcos said this after a briefing with agriculture and other officials from different agencies on Tuesday, Feb 28.

In a video shared by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Wednesday morning, the President noted how the country has been "totally dependent" on petroleum-based fertilizers.

"Now, we are going to introduce biofertilizer to our farmers and teach them how to use it," he said.

"Hopefully, this will ease our concerns when it comes to the supply of fertilizer, and we can fully control the availability of biofertilizer," he added.

For now, President Marcos said farmers would continue using petroleum-based fertilizers.

“Now, there will still be a mix. Hindi mawawala yung urea, hindi mawawala yung mga non-organic (The urea, the non-organic ones, will not be gone)," he said.

"But, we will lessen our dependence on importation when it comes to fertilizer supply," he added.

According to Marcos, who also acts as Agriculture Secretary, biofertilizer was brought to the fore because of the high fertilizer price and concerns about availability and supply.

He said the Department of Agriculture (DA) conducted trials on biofertilizers, which can be produced in the Philippines. The country has been dependent on non-organic and petroleum-based fertilizers, essentially urea.

While the results of the trials were promising, Marcos noted that using biofertilizers entails some cost. Still, he said it could be brought down, especially if produced locally.

“Kayang-kaya daw dito i-produce sa Pilipinas ‘yan (They said we can produce that in the Philippines), President Marcos said.

"There are many technologies from UPLB (University of the Philippines Los Baños), from the other SUCs (state universities and colleges), and the agricultural colleges. Marami silang na-research, na-develop na technologies diyan sa biofertilizer (They have researched and developed technologies with biofertilizer)," he added.

In his state visit to China last month, Marcos secured business agreements with Chinese producers to lower fertilizer prices, a vital part of his administration's bid to help farmers and ensure food security.

Two Chinese fertilizer manufacturing companies signed a cooperation agreement with the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), which was seen to ensure a sustainable supply of much-needed fertilizers at reasonable prices.