Highland vegetable prices increase in Benguet

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Baguio City (CNN Philippines) — Prices of highland vegetables increased over the past days due to strong rains caused by Tropical Storm Egay that made transport of vegetables difficult.

A P5 to P10 increase in prices of vegetables were noted at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post yesterday (July 7).

According to Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative Manager Augusta Balanoy, the increase is due to vegetables being wet, making it difficult to pack and transport to public markets and supermarkets in Metro Manila.

Balanoy, however, stressed there is still enough supply of highland vegetables to Metro Manila as farmers harvested their goods early but the flooded farms will have to be rehabilitated first before another round of planting could commence.

She said among the crops severely affected are leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage. Potato crops are also affected as plants have been toppled by strong winds and rain during the typhoon.

Benguet produces more than 1.6 million kilograms of vegetables daily to Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Benguet province currently supplies 80 percent of highland vegetables such as carrots, sayote, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage among other semi-temperate vegetables being sold in Metro Manila public markets and supermarkets.

From July 4 to 6, the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC) have recorded some 384.6 millimeters of rain drenching farmlands and destroying millions worth of irrigation and infrastructure such as roads important in transporting farm products to the lowlands.

Majority of the losses are on rice plantations that are supposed to be harvested this month.

The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera reported an initial cost of damage of around P6.4 million to palay and more than P2.4 million damage to high value crops such as highland vegetables.

The department is still monitoring the damage in other provinces in the region but assured farmers they will give seed subsidy among other aid to recover the losses.

In terms of agricultural infrastructure, the National Irrigation Administration-CAR reported more than P11.5 million in damages to irrigation systems in Benguet, Kalinga and Mt. Province.

The Department of Public Works and Highways regional office also reported an initial cost of damage to national and local roads amounting more than P25 million; some P1.7 million in damage to bridges; P653,000 damage to power lines and P26 million worth of flood control projects.

The CRDRRMC remains on Red Alert Status to prepare for the possible effects of Typhoon Falcon and the southwest monsoon or ‘habagat.’