Press Releases

Salceda on PBBM trip to Indonesia: “Fertile discussions on fertilizers, investments;” Salceda says PBBM proposal for direct procurement of urea from Indonesia to help lower food costs, increase farm output

September 11th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) believes that “the most fertile part of PBBM’s trip to Indonesia is the government-to-government discussions on procurement of urea from Indonesia to support Filipino farmers.”

“The most crucial development among the discussions in the President’s state visit is the direct procurement of urea and other fertilizers from Indonesia. I have long suggested that the provision of fertilizers during this planting season is the best way to ensure our food supply issues do not spill over to 2023,” Salceda said.

Indonesia is the world’s third largest producer of urea fertilizer, right below India and Russia.

“Rice in the Philippines requires at least 40 kg of urea per hectare per cropping season, or 120,000 metric tons of urea per season. We need more for other crops, such as sugar. It’s a major expense for farmers. A strategic partnership with Indonesia to cut out the middlemen will surely reduce prices, towards PBBM’s direction of cheap domestic food production.”

“I think that is the most crucial concrete discussion point there. Congress is ready to empower the President in government-to-government procurement for fertilizers, should he need any special powers on that regard.”

According to Salceda, “fertilizer costs account for as much as 10.5% of total palay costs. So, if we can lower fertilizer prices through direct and G2G negotiations, that will help farmers and increase yield, because they can afford to apply adequate amounts rather than scrimp over it.”

Indonesia, Philippines can be strategic agri partners

Salceda adds that strategic partnerships between Indonesia and the Philippines, particularly on corn and coconuts, of which both countries are the biggest producers in ASEAN, will be crucial for the country’s agricultural development.

“We are the top 2 biggest coconut producers in the world. In ASEAN, we are the top 2 for corn – the key input for livestock, poultry, and dairy sectors. We need to come to an understanding of working together in world trade, rather than competing with each other in a race to the bottom. The world has much more demand for corn and coconuts that both countries can fill, so we can be partners rather than adversaries there.”

“We can be something of a corn and coconut bloc in the world market, rather than adversaries,” Salceda said.

Salceda proposed that both countries work on technologies to make coconut farming more climate resilient, “especially as both countries are also very prone to extreme climate events.”

“Indonesia has been a very constructive partner. Mind you, the Celebes Sea dispute resolution between our countries remains the world’s model for amicable maritime dispute resolution. We are very good friends and allies, with very similar strengths and problems. PBBM was correct to make Indonesia his first state visit. It’s like visiting a brother’s home,” Salceda said.

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