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Prices of tomatoes soar to P230 per kilo

MANILA, Philippines, August 31 ------ The retail prices of tomatoes reached P230 per kilo or P13 per piece based on the latest monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA) amid the vegetable supply shortage in Luzon following the devastation of Super Typhoon Egay.

According to the DA, the retail prices of tomatoes jumped by P60 per kilo compared to its previous price of P170 per kilo a week ago in Metro Manila markets. But the farmgate prices of tomato dropped to P3 to P5 per kilo amid the oversupply particularly in Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon. In a radio interview, Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) general manager Gilbert Cumila said there is a Luzon-wide shortage in the supply of vegetables amid the damage caused by Egay to the agriculture sector. “The buyers are competing by offering higher prices just to get vegetables since they know they can still sell in Metro Manila at even higher prices,” Cumila said.

According to Cumila, the tightness in the supply of vegetables is still due to the effect of Egay, which entered the Philippines on July 21. Based on the monitoring of the DA, the retail price of ampalaya (bitter gourd) was as high as P140 per kilo; string beans, P130 per kilo; pechay tagalog, P100 per kilo; squash, P60 per kilo; eggplant, P120 per kilo; cabbage, P180 per kilo; carrots, P200 per kilo; Baguio beans, P220 per kilo; potato, P160 per kilo; pechay Baguio, P170 per kilo; sayote, P130 per kilo; and chili, P600 per kilo and ginger, P150 per kilo.

Farmers’ group Federation of Free Farmers national manager Raul Montemayor yesterday said that Typhoon Goring will further affect the rice supply as the palay plantations in Nueva Ecija were affected by rains. “The palay crops can still survive but the harvest will be delayed. We hope that the extent of the damage is not that big,” Montemayor said. At the same time, Montemayor expressed doubt whether concerned agencies will be able to address the spike in the retail prices of rice following the order of President Marcos to use all available legal tools to control the cost of the grains.

According to Montemayor, the raid of warehouses in Bulacan will also further diminish the supply of rice in the country. “The owners of the warehouses were given 15 days to prove that the rice stocks were not smuggled. In the meantime the stocks were not allowed to be released, the supply in the market will be further affected, the more our problem on the supply will worsen,” Montemayor said.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) previously raided FS Rice Mill, San Pedro Warehouse and Great Harvest Rice Meal Warehouse in Bocaue and Balagtas towns in Bulacan and recovered about 202,000 sacks or at least P505 million-imported rice from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Montemayor said there is an issue on the rice supply as only 200,000 metric tons of imported rice arrived compared to the expected 600,000 metric tons of imported grains from July to September 2023. He noted that many traders did not import because of the high prices of rice in the world market. “We became dependent on importation as the situation now is different from the last three years where there was over importation of rice, causing the farmgate price of palay to go down. As a result, many farmers were discouraged to plant,” he said.



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