NEDA: Vegetable prices to rise during rainy season
- Marvin Sy () - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported yesterday that the prices of vegetables are expected to increase by up to 25 percent this rainy season, based on historical data.

Citing data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, NEDA director Dennis Arroyo said that significant increases in the prices of vegetables take place during the months of July to October, particularly from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the Ilocos Region due to higher cost of transportation.

“From 2007-2009, the average retail price of select vegetables increase in the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Ilocos region by 23.5 percent and 25.1 percent during rainy months, respectively,” Arroyo said.

“Given the effect of this on inflation expectations, the Department of Agriculture is encouraged to draw up measures to address this problem,” he added.

Aside from the high transportation cost, the rainy season also brings with it storms that damage crops and consequently affects the supply in the market.The NEDA said that in CAR, vegetables are sold through the La Trinidad trading center and transported by trucks over long distances to Metro Manila. Some vegetables in CAR are produced as far as 95 kilometers away from La Trinidad and the road links within this region are connected to Manila via the Halsema Highway.

The Halsema Highway connects Baguio to the Mountain Province and the rest of the provinces comprising the CAR.

It is a vital road network for local farmers and plays an important role in the entire agricultural industry and food security program of the country.

Citing the DPWH’s status report on Feb. 17, 2010, the Halsema Highway concreting project is about 72.4 percent complete, the Halsema Highway Phase II (35.6 kms.) is 80 percent complete, Phase III (83.6 kms.) 83.6 percent complete, Tinglayan Boundary-Labuangan Section 1 Project (68.2 kms.) 75 percent complete, and Lubuagan-Tabuk Section 2 road project (51.1 kms.) 51.1 percent complete.

The NEDA noted that last year’s experience with typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” was that the supply of vegetables went down significantly, bringing up the prices to one of the highest levels in the country’s history.

Heavy flooding and landslides created obstacles on the major roads leading to the markets so the supply of vegetables, particularly to the National Capital Region, was drastically affected.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration expects the La Niña phenomenon to occur in the country this July to September and the weather bureau expects heavy rains and probably even typhoons as strong as or stronger than Ondoy and Pepeng.

Arroyo said that it would be prudent for the next administration to prepare for possible Ondoy or Pepeng scenarios in light of the La Niña phenomenon.He said that the next administration should explore all possibilities and prepare in advance for the worst case scenario. These include addressing the problems on drainage, population and flood control.

BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION AND THE ILOCOS DENNIS ARROYO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HALSEMA HIGHWAY LA NI LA TRINIDAD ONDOY PEPENG
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