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Urea kinks dispelled

Keith A. Calayag

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President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the alleged overpriced fertilizers procured by the Department of Agriculture (DA) is above board in his recent report to Congressional Oversight Committee on the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

“As to the alleged overpricing in the procurement of urea fertilizer, the DA has reported that the centralized fertilizer bidding is above board, transparent, and has in fact brought urea prices down,” said the President’s report.

To recall, the DA was criticized due to the alleged anomalous procurement of urea fertilizers worth P1.8 billion under its COVID-19 response program and according to the report of farmers’ groups including Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, the fertilizers were overpriced by least P150 per bag.

Prices lower than previous

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has since denied the allegation.

According to the report, based on the data from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, the national average price of urea fertilizer from February to April 2020 was at P1,051 per bag, lower as compared to the P1,200 to P1,400 per bag in previous years.

Further, it stated that the awarded bidding price for P1.8 million worth of bags of urea fertilizers ranged from P900 to P995 per bag.

The report also stated that the DA has taken the necessary measures to enhance the system of fertilizer distribution, including geo-tagging, posting of all recipients or beneficiaries and system digitization.

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