Lower vegetable prices seen this week as harvest season begins
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Lower vegetable prices seen this week as harvest season begins

Lower vegetable prices seen this week as harvest season begins

Vendors tend to fresh vegetable produce at their stalls in Mega Q Mart in Cubao, Quezon City. —Inquirer file photo/Grig C. Montegrande

MANILA, Philippines — The retail prices of vegetables are expected to decrease this week with the start of the harvest season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday.

“Prices will start to decline within the week because farmers have already begun harvesting their produce,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said, citing in particular the expected gradual drop in the price of tomatoes which southern Tagalog farmers have started gathering.

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De Mesa, also the DA’s spokesperson, said that vegetable prices in public markets have gone up in the past few weeks due to heavy rains and the El Niño phenomenon, which delayed the beginning of the harvest season in some areas.

“This is probably an effect of shifting weather conditions … In the case of tomatoes, the commodity was severely affected by El Niño,” he added.

Another factor aside from erratic weather conditions was the oil price hikes.

Fuel subsidies eyed

“If the vegetables come from faraway areas such as Baguio, Benguet or southern Tagalog, there are additional expenses since gasoline is expensive,” he added.

Last week, the DA announced that it might release P510.447 million in fuel subsidies to farmers this month as fuel prices continue to go up. The financial assistance of P3,000 would go to approximately 160,000 farmers who own or rent machinery used in crop, livestock, and poultry production.

The fuel subsidy grant is activated upon the Department of Energy’s certification that the average monthly price of Dubai crude has reached or exceeded $80 per barrel. As of this writing, the price of Asian bellwether Dubai crude is pegged at around $86 a barrel.

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Based on the DA’s monitoring of agri-fishery commodities in Metro Manila markets, a kilogram of bittergourd (ampalaya) ranged from P70 to P150 as of Tuesday, the same as a year ago.

Per kg, string beans (sitaw) were sold from P70 to P160, slightly higher than last year’s P70 to P100.

Tomatoes (kamatis) hovered between P140 and P220 per kg, much higher than the previous P50 to P95 per kg.

Cabbage retailed from P60 to P100 a kilo, lower than P95 to P160 per kg last year, while carrots were sold from P100 to P180 per kg, also lower than last year’s P140 to P180 per kg.

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Baguio pechay, on the other hand, was priced from P50 to P120 per kg, compared with last year’s P80 to P140 per kg.

TAGS: Department of Agriculture, fuel price hikes, fuel subsidy

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