Vegetable prices likewise on the rise
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - January 12, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Prices of vegetables in public markets have gone up recently, the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas said.

Gerry Avila, agribusiness and marketing chief at DA-7, said yesterday that based on their monitoring, vegetable prices at Carbon, the biggest public market in Cebu City, have increased.

"Vegetable prices are usually expected [to rise] from December to January due to high demand," Avila told The FREEMAN yesterday.

The agriculture official however stressed that the increase of vegetable prices are a bit higher this time due to the recent typhoons that hit the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

The Visayas and Mindanao areas were hit by typhoons Urduja and Vinta in December 2017 and typhoon Agaton early this month.

The official however said that their agency can only monitor the prices but does not have the authority to regulate it, so as with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Tomatoes increased to P50 per kilo from P20; ampalaya to P70 per kilo from P30 per kilo; Chinese pechay is up to P50 per kilo from P30 per kilo; and eggplant rose to P50 per kilo from P30 per kilo.

Avila expects vegetable prices to slowly go down later this month.

"Hopefully after Sinulog or depending on how fast our farmers can recover from the typhoons and the damages, prices will at least go down," he said.

He added the agency will also watch how the newly passed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act will affect agricultural prices considering its effectivity this year.

The TRAIN Law imposes higher excise taxes on fuel products, which is featured to push up transportation costs, thus including transporting agricultural products to the markets.

The DA had previously made an implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the amended Price Act of 1992 on agricultural commodities.

The IRR as applied to agricultural commodities aims to “ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at all times without denying legitimate business a fair return on investment, and at the same time, provide effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering and cartels.”

The IRR as applied to agricultural commodities states the agriculture secretary, upon the recommendation of the multi-agency Bantay Presyo Technical Committee, may issue SRPs that shall be in effect for a period of no longer than 60 days unless extended or lifted.

“The owner, proprietor, or agent of any establishment found selling or offering for sale to the general public and agricultural commodity at a price exceeding the SRP by more than 10 percent shall constitute a prima facie evidence of profiteering,” the IRR said.

Meanwhile, consumers were also recently alarmed over the double hikes in fish prices lately.

Most fish prices had recently doubled.

Some vendors attributed this to the low supply of fish in the market.

While others said the typhoons that recently hit the region could partly be blamed.

Based on DA-7's monitoring in Carbon public market, supply is very limited recently due to the recent weather disturbances.


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