LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: Local farmers here said there is no reason for market vendors in Manila to increase the prices of highland vegetables because the occurrence of frost has not affected the farms where these produce are sourced.
Agot Balanoy, Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative general manager, said they have been receiving reports from growers and traders that prices of locally produced vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sayote and broccoli have gone up from P5 to P20 in the Manila markets reportedly because of the occurrence of frost in the highlands since last week.
Balanoy said there is no reason for Manila markets to raise vegetable prices as she clarified that although there were reports of damages to vegetables because of the frost in parts of Mankayan, Kibungan and Atok in Benguet and parts of Bauko in the Mountain Province, the supply and production of vegetables have not been affected.
She added that the reported damages to vegetables is very low compared to the supply of vegetables being sold and transported from the farmlands to the wholesale and retail markets.
Balanoy said farmers are very resilient and are ready to act immediately to ensure that their produce will not be affected by frost.
The farmers spray water on the vegetables before sunrise when frosts occur.
Balanoy called on regional and the national offices of the Department of Trade and Industry and the
Department of Agriculture to investigate the increase in vegetable prices, saying Manila retailers resort to this practice every time there is frost.
He asked the local government units of Benguet and the National Capital Region NCR or Metro Manila) to look closely at situation in the Manila markets as this has already affected highland farmers and traders negatively.