MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines is looking to strike import deals with some of the world's biggest fertiliser suppliers, including China and Russia, to help lower costs and increase food production amid high inflation, the government said on Tuesday.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to reach out to China, Russia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia to secure fertiliser supplies at favourable prices, according to a statement issued by his office.
Marcos has vowed to boost agricultural output over the next six months, saying he wants the Southeast Asian country to reduce its reliance on food imports and avoid being hit hard by a food crisis looming over the world.
Agriculture officials have warned of higher local prices of rice, the country's staple food, in the coming months partly due to surging costs of fertiliser, supplies of which have been disrupted by the Russia-Ukraine war. The Philippines imports most of its fertiliser needs.
Partly driven by higher costs of some food items, Philippine inflation averaged 4.4% in the first half of this year, above the official 2%-4% target band, with the June rate of 6.1% being the highest in nearly four years.
Marcos said he was looking to formally inform all five countries of his plan to buy a certain volume.
The Philippines uses 2.5 million tonnes of fertilisers every year, according to the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)