Benguet growers sure of enough V-Day flowers
BAGUIO CITY—Old-school lovers, worry not. There are enough cut flowers grown in Benguet province for the local and Metro Manila markets in time for Valentine’s Day, according to an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
But, alas, prices of roses, anthuriums and chrysanthemums have soared, said Cameron Odsey, the DA Cordillera coordinator.
Contrary to the claim in Metro Manila that rising prices of cut flowers from Benguet were due to low supply caused by the weather, Odsey said the blooms are actually harvested during the cool months of November to February.
According to the DA, over 70,433 dozens of anthuriums were harvested in Benguet in November last year and 150,729 dozens were harvested in December, when these were sold for P300 a dozen in Metro Manila, then P400 a dozen in January.
Benguet’s harvest for chrysanthemums was at 258,521 dozens in November, although production dropped to 221,400 dozens the next month. In Metro Manila, the flowers were sold for P100 a dozen in November, then P200 in December and January.
Roses are, of course, the most popular flowers for this season. Benguet harvested 132,523 dozens in November and 261,848 dozens in December. The DA has yet to release data on January production.
On Dimasalang Street, near Dangwa Flower Market in Manila’s Sampaloc district, the price for a dozen roses increased from P150 in November to P200 in December, then P500 to P700 in January.
The spike in Metro Manila prices was due to increased demand between December and January, which allowed local farmers to recover their losses from the restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Records from the DA showed sales of flowers dropping in November last year because the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases prohibited gatherings at cemeteries on All Saints’ Day.
But the local governments eased restrictions during the Christmas holidays, allowing small celebrations, if still with strict health guidelines.
“The prices were able to rise to cover for losses incurred last November,” the department said in a report, citing the relaxed measures.
But this was before the new general community quarantine that restricted anew travel to Baguio and Benguet this early in the new year, following the reporting of COVID-19 variant cases in Bontoc town.
Baguio City also had to cancel the annual Panagbenga Flower Festival—otherwise a huge earner for the flower industry.
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