LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Gov. Crescencio C. Pacalso ruled out the reported shortage of vegetable supply in the province, saying that the damages inflicted by the recent monsoon rains to the local agriculture industry was minimal, thus, there has been sufficient supply of vegetables being brought out of the province.
Pacalso underscored that the over P73 million worth of damages caused by the previous monsoon rains to the province’s agriculture industry represents only 5 to 10 percent of the overall crop production that is why there is no substantial basis to conclude that there is shortage of supply of vegetables from the province when regular transactions are being done at the multi-million Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) and other private trading centers in the town.
“We received reports that there has been substantial supply of vegetables that had been brought out of the province over the past several weeks which means that the supply is still sufficient. We do not know how come the prices of vegetables are too high when the supply is enough to be brought to the Metro Manila and lowland markets,” Pacalso stressed.
Based on a report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), there were some 878.45 hectares of agricultural farms that were affected by the previous monsoon rains that resulted to over P73.7 million worth of damages to vegetables, corn and other high value crops, including rice.
Further, there were some 5,795 farmers from 11 out of the 13 municipalities of the province who reported damages incurred by their crops during the onslaught of the monsoon rains.
Bokod suffered the biggest crop damage with P12.4 million and the number of farmers affected with 1,117 followed by Atok with P8.4 million with 610 farmers affected; Kibungan reported damages amounting to P6.3 million with 446 affected farmers; Buguias had damages amounting to P5.8 million with 583 affected farmers; Mankayan reported P5.09 million worth of damages with 286 farmers; Kabayan was able to record some P4.4 million in damages with 233 affected farmers; Bakun had P1.8 million worth of damages with 77 affected farmers; Itogon had P1.3 million with 32 affected farmers; Kapangan was able to report some p1.03 million damages to crops with 224 affected farmers; Sablan was able to report some P598,000 worth of damages with 71 affected farmers and Tuba had P560,000 worth of damages to crops with 256 affected farmers.
Pacalso agreed that there might be something wrong going on in the value chain that is causing the skyrocketing increase in the prices of highland vegetables being sold in the lowlands and Metro Manila, thus, there is a need for a consolidated effort of concerned stakeholders to pinpoint where the problem lies and how to effectively and efficiently curb the said malpractice of those involved in the manipulation of the vegetable prices.
The local chief executive admitted that much has yet to be done by the concerned stakeholders to curb the continuous malpractice of some stakeholders in the industry that continue to cause the skyrocketing increase in the prices of vegetables when brought to the markets.