Rain damage to Benguet vegetables now P74M, but no supply cut seen
LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET—Crop damages from weeks of strong rain in Benguet province rose to P74 million on Thursday, according to Gov. Cresencio Pacalso.
He said the rain destroyed 878.45 hectares of vegetable gardens but that should not disrupt the supply of potatoes, carrots, cabbages, lettuce and cauliflower.
The areas destroyed were responsible for only 5 percent of the province’s vegetable production, he said.
But a significant increase in vegetable prices had been reported in the market over the past several days. “Sayote,” for example, was sold for P50 a kilogram here, up from P10 per kg in previous weeks.
But Pacalso said the price increases could be normal for vegetables grown during the rainy season.
He said the rain caused erosion that meant delays in transporting produce through Halsema Highway, the major route to this capital town where vegetables were packed and shipped to various markets.
The rain triggered 103 landslides and 14 road erosions from July to August.
Pacalso said vegetable prices would normalize as soon as roads were cleared and the transportation flow resumed.
State of calamity
The Benguet provincial government declared a state of calamity on Monday after initial damage estimates climbed to P163.8 million, P44.5 million of which represented destroyed crops and livestock.
Monsoon rains hit the towns of Kibungan, Bokod, Atok, Buguias, Kabayan and Mankayan, the major sources of vegetables.
Pacalso said the government needed P97.2 million to repair roads and bridges.
An initial P12 million would be from this year’s calamity funds to be used on priority road repairs and assistance to farmers.
According to Pacalso earlier, the government needed P84.25 million to repair national roads and bridges while P13 million was needed to restore farm-to-market roads. —KARLSTON LAPNITEN
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