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House urged to investigate effects of using chemical fertilizers.

In light of the administration’s advocacy of a balanced fertilization strategy (BFS), four lawmakers on Tuesday urged the House Committee on Agriculture to investigate the effects of imported chemical fertilizers on Philippine agriculture and agricultural production.

To support President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to find alternatives to increase palay productivity, such as the BFS that combines the application of organic, inorganic, and biofertilizer, Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur led the filing of House Resolution 972.

The legislative investigation aims to determine whether organic inputs or biofertilizers have been shown to boost crop yields considerably or are still unproven, as well as whether chemical fertilizers like urea cost less than, if not the same as, bio fertilizers.

Reps. Brian Raymund Yamsuan of Bicol Saro, Albert Raymond Garcia of Bataan, and Danilo Ramon Fernandez of Sta Rosa City are other authors of the resolution.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) released Memorandum Order No. 32 on April 27. It lays out specific instructions for DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs) on how to choose and apply these biofertilizers to boost yield and encourage growth in rice production.

Given that President Marcos recently announced his administration’s push for farmers to use biofertilizers in place of imported petroleum-based fertilizers, the authors claimed that the memorandum aims to combat high input prices and promote alternatives such as biofertilizers.

The lawmakers claimed that high palay production costs impact all rice-eating Filipinos because, in addition to reducing local farmers’ incomes, rising import costs for inputs like synthetic or chemical fertilizers also affect consumers, who pay the price for the resulting higher rice prices.

Because they have no control over the weather or other natural factors, “our farmers rely heavily on fertilizers and other farm inputs to boost agricultural productivity,” they claimed.

According to Villafuerte, the planned investigation should compare the actual prices for local growers employing organic and inorganic agricultural inputs and their per-hectare yields.

He praised the President’s efforts to promote balanced fertilization, saying it will “finally wean our farmers from decades of overdependence on expensive imported inputs that shrink their incomes and harm the environment.”

A bold change in agricultural policy that should have been implemented years ago would have freed our farmers from the decades-long stranglehold of expensive imported chemical fertilizers in favour of using biofertilizers or organic inputs, according to Villafuerte. This would have increased palay productivity, increased farmer incomes, and reduced rice prices while also reversing soil degradation and combating global warming.

The President’s multifaceted objectives to modernize Philippine agriculture, reduce rice prices, raise farmer yields and incomes, support agribusiness, and combat climate change, according to Villafuerte, will be fulfilled thanks to the BFS.

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