Prior to the centralized bidding of fertilizers, government data showed that the average price of urea in the country's 14 regions was higher than P1,000 per 50-kilogram bag.
Based on data released by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, the national average price of urea fertilizer from January to June 2020 were as follows: P1,080.85 (January), P1,066.43 (February), P1,058.62 (March), P1,046.80 (April), P1,028.33 (May), and P1,029.98 (June).
From February to April 2020, the months immediately preceding the centralized bidding, the national average price of urea fertilizer was P1,051 per bag.
Agriculture Sec. William Dar has said the centralized bidding of fertilizers conducted by the DA last April was aboveboard, transparent, and yielded the best price for government at less than P1,000 per bag.
In fact, Dar said, the centralized bidding influenced the retail prices of urea to drop even further in recent weeks.
"The downward trend of urea prices shows that we're on the right track in centralizing the bidding process, thus providing our farmers nationwide with affordable and reasonably-priced fertilizers," he added.
Debunking claims of alleged overpricing, DA Assistant Sec, Noel Reyes said the approved budget for the contract for the fertilizer bidding of the DA Rice Program was based on the month-long price trends collated by the FPA and the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The same price trend was noted in retail outlets across the country based on copies of actual receipts and invoices presented to the media.
After the first and second biddings, 1.8 million bags were awarded to two companies, namely: La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp. and Atlas Fertilizer, offering urea at prices ranging from P900 to P995 per 50-kg bag.
Per delivery schedule set by the DA Rice Program, the winning suppliers will distribute the fertilizers directly to municipalities covered under the Rice Resiliency Project in four lots, corresponding to four regions: Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Western Visayas, and Central Visayas.
Last June 5, Reyes said 14 prospective suppliers attended DA’s pre-bid conference for the next 26 fertilizer lots, but only four submitted bid proposals. Of the four, only three were considered. The fourth bidder was disqualified due to lack of required bid documents.
The DA Bids and Awards Committee expects to complete the evaluation of the three bidders and declare the winners by July 9.
The winners must deliver 50 percent of the urea fertilizers per lot not later than July 15, 2020, and the rest not later than July 31, 2020.
There are still 18 lots up for bidding.
For transparency, the DA’s bidding process is live-streamed via the official DA Facebook page.
"All we want is to encourage other qualified industry players to participate and thus maintain the spirit of competitiveness -- to provide our farmers quality and reasonably-priced fertilizers that will enable them to increase their crop yields and incomes," Reyes said.
Studies show that application of proper amount of fertilizers at the right time can significantly increase average rice yield by two tons per hectare, from four to five metric tons per hectare to 6-7 MT/hectare for certified inbred seeds; and from 5-6 MT/ha. to 7-9 MT/ha. or even up to 10MT, for hybrid rice farmers.
The current national average yield is 4 MT/ha.