Issue of January 13, 2019
Mt. Province

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DA to evaluate surplus of vegetable supply
by Ofelia C. Empian

OVERSUPPLY? -- Local farmers complained of low prices of vegetables due to oversupply which is attributed to various factors such as the Typhoon Usman that hit the Visayas region last December, which is one of the markets of Benguet vegetables. The Department of Agriculture- Cordillera is now evaluating the extent of the damage and losses of Benguet farmers with the agency encouraging farmers with crop insurance to file their claims. -- Ofelia Empian

The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera is evaluating recent reports of an oversupply of Benguet vegetables leading to low market prices, forcing some farmers to throw away their produce.

DA Regional Director Cameron Odsey said the plummeting of prices after the holidays has been a normal occurrence.

He said the last days of December up to first week of January gives farmers good price for their produce. However, prices start to go down as the holiday season is over. 

“Based on our daily monitoring at the trading post during the first week of January, it declined by 30 percent and that’s normal, because of the high prices and the demand during Christmas and New Year,” Odsey said.

He said the low price might also be due to Typhoon Usman that hit the Visayas region, which is also a big market for Benguet on the last weeks of December.

“There were no ro-ro boats going to the Visayas that time, that’s why the supply of vegetables clogged, leading to the plummeting of its price,” he said.

“We will validate claims na may nasira,  na may mga nagtapon ng gulay, together with the different municipal agricultural officers,” Odsey said.

He said the farmers who have availed of insurance through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) insurance program may file a claim.

According to the PCIC records, 5,782 farmers from Benguet have availed of the insurance. Some farmers affected by previous typhoons are currently processing their claims at the PCIC, which has an extension office at the 2nd Floor, Spot 3 of the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center.

BAPTC Chief Operating Officer Violeta Salda said based on their monitoring, prices of highland vegetables have gone down to an average of P10 to P12 and P20 to P40 during the first weeks of January.

Despite this, most of the farmers were able to dispose their produce, some after a day of being stuck at BAPTC. She added those that were thrown away were vegetables that were already rejected.

The recent parade of the Black Nazarene in Manila has also affected the truckers that came to collect vegetable supply at BAPTC.

Salda said the oversupply might have also been affected by the late planting of some farmers due to the past typhoons that hit the locality.

Salda said various agencies, farmers, traders, and others who are involved in the vegetable industry need to establish a strong market.

“The BAPTC and the trading post alone could not handle the market for vegetables. We need a wider market network,” she said.

She said the BAPTC has limited facilities and funding such as trucks to ferry the vegetables to the different markets.

Salda added that stakeholders must also give attention to the implementation of crop programming to avoid the oversupply of the same kind of vegetables in the market.

“There will be a lot that will be sustained by the program as long as all our actions are harmonized,” she said.

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