Fertilizer imports last year expanded by almost a fifth to a three-year high of over 2.5 million metric tons as global prices of the farm input declined at a double-digit pace.

A report by the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Development (CPBRD) showed that fertilizer imports in 2023 reached 2.54 million MT, about 19.24 percent higher than the 2.13 million MT in 2022.

The report indicated that nitrogenous fertilizer, mostly urea, accounted for 66 percent of total imports last year. Nitrogenous fertilizer import volume rose by 28 percent year-on-year to 1.68 million MT from 1.31 million MT.

Citing World Bank data, the CPBRD report noted that global fertilizer prices across key types declined between 28.8 percent and as much as 55.6 percent last year.

Based on reports, global fertilizer prices fell last year due to lower prices for natural gas caused by higher supply. Fertilizer is a by-product of natural gas production.

The lower demand for fertilizer also contributed to the softening of the prices last year. Farmers in some countries reduced their fertilizer usage as a result of the higher prices of the farm input in 2022 due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Federation of Free Farmers national manager Raul Montemayor said the decline in global fertilizer prices lifted the country's imports of the farm input last year.

Montemayor also noted that the Department of Agriculture's fertilizer subsidy program induced higher demand for fertilizer.

Furthermore, the CPBRD said the government collected P502.6 million in tariffs and value added tax (VAT) from imported fertilizer products last year. Broken down, the government collected P289.6 million in tariffs and P213 million in VAT, according to the CPBRD.

'The highest collections from duties were from mixed fertilizers (N/P/K) which amounted to P171.5 million, computed at three percent rate,' the CPBRD said in its report titled Revenues from Imported Fertilizers 2021-2023.

'The highest VAT collections came from nitrogenous fertilizers (N) amounting to P144.6 million, followed by potassic (K) fertilizers with P57 million,' it added.

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