MANILA, Nov 8 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) are set to sign this week a memorandum agreement (MOA) to source affordable fertilizers from China, Malacañang said Monday.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. meets with officials of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) in Malacanang to discuss various measures that will allow the entry of cheaper fertilizers that will be given to farmers for free to lower the prices of food. (MNS photo)

This was brought up during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s meeting with officials of the DA, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the PTIC to discuss various measures that will allow the entry of cheaper fertilizers that will be given to farmers for free to lower the prices of food.

“PTIC President and Chief Executive Officer Emmie Liza Perez-Chiong said her agency plans to buy an initial 150,000 metric tons (MTs) of fertilizer this year from China at USD 470 per MT from the current USD 650 per MT through a government-to-government arrangement,” the Palace said in a press release.

(MNS photo)

Currently, the MOA between DA and PITC is now being drafted. The MOA is the basic requirement for the PTIC importation plan.

“Another requirement for PTIC’s fertilizer importation is a sovereign guaranty from the government-owned Landbank for a PHP1 billion worth of credit line,” Malacañang said.

Marcos, who is also Agriculture Secretary, will sign the MOA on the side of the DA.

Meanwhile, the President also directed Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to extend the sovereign guaranty to PTIC’s credit line from the Landbank.

“I will also ask Landbank to allow DA to use its idle warehouses for the stockpiling of fertilizers,” Marcos said.

The DA has allotted a PHP4.1-billion subsidy to buy fertilizers to be given for free to farmers.

The amount could buy around 2.277 million bags of urea to be given to farmers through farmers’ groups and cooperatives.

The government plans to import around 300,000 MT of fertilizer to be used next year.

The PITC is the only state trading corporation in the country and has helped local businesses and agencies benefit from international trade since its establishment in 1973.

Last July, Marcos said he is looking to pursue government-to-government deals with top suppliers of fertilizer such as China, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Russia to purchase cheaper fertilizer.

He also asked DA officials to provide data on the source and price of fertilizers, as well as on the department’s distribution plan during the planting season. (MNS)