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Farmers group: High prices of tomatoes, vegetables to persist

MANILA, Philippines, September 17 ------ The high retail prices of vegetables, particularly tomatoes, will persist for at least two weeks amid the shortage in supply, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) executive director Jayson Cainglet said. “The problem (of a spike in the retail prices) is not only for tomatoes but all the commodities,” Cainglet said, after tomatoes were sold for as high as P300 per kilo in a Marikina market. “The upward trend in the retail prices of vegetables will become a problem in the next two weeks,” Cainglet said, adding that the shortage in supply of vegetables was further aggravated by recent typhoons and the impact of the southwest monsoon.

Aside from tomatoes, the retail prices of other vegetables remained high, including bitter gourd, P140 per kilo; string beans, P150 per kilo; pechay Tagalog, P100 per kilo; squash, P60 per kilo; eggplant, P120 per kilo; calamansi, P100 per kilo; cabbage, P140 per kilo; carrots, P200 per kilo; potatoes, P190 per kilo; pechay Baguio, P180 per kilo, and chayote, P130 per kilo. “The planting calendar for most of the farmers is the same and they will harvest on the same period, that is why when it is harvest season, there is an oversupply of tomatoes in the markets,” the SINAG official said.

For her part, Bureau of Plant Industry Los Baños National Crop and Research Development agriculturist Nina Rosales said that efforts are now being done to improve the production of tomatoes. “Our research is ongoing to develop technologies so that we can have tomatoes even during the off-season so that we can address the shortage in supply during the rainy season,” Rosales said.

She added that tomatoes are difficult to grow during the rainy season, causing retail prices to go up. “We encourage the planting of tomatoes in greenhouses or under protected green technology. The only downside is that the running cost of a greenhouse is high. We also have technology from Taiwan where we combine tomatoes with eggplant to prolong the lifespan of tomatoes,” Rosales said.



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