LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet farmers are calling on the various government agencies and local government units to look into the rampant increase of highland vegetables in the Manila markets which are being blamed on the effect of frosts.
Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative General Manager Agot Balanoy said that aside from their monitoring, they have been receiving reports from farmers and traders that prices of locally produced vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sayote, and broccoli have jacked up from P5 to P20 reportedly due to the occurrence of frost in the highlands since last week.
Balanoy clarified that although there were reports of damages of vegetables due to the frost in parts of Mankayan, Kibungan and Atok in Benguet and parts of Bauko in Mountain Province in the past week, the supply and the production of vegetables have not been affected thus there is no reason for Manila markets to raise vegetable prices.
She said that the reported damages of vegetables is very low compared to the supply of vegetables being sold and transported from the farmlands to the wholesale and retail markets. She added that farmers already are very resilient and are ready to immediately act to ensure that their produce will not be affected by applying water spray before sunrise when frosts occurs.
Balanoy called on the regional and the national offices of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture to investigate the illegal increase of vegetable prices which has been a scheme of Manila retailers every time there is frost.
Moreover, Balanoy is asking the local government units of Benguet and the National Capital Region to look into the situation of the markets which is affecting the highland farmers and traders. /JDP/RMC- PIA CAR#