Thursday, 6 January 2011

Benguet to regulate vegetable production due to oversupply

JENNIFER A. NG
Business Mirror
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/component/content/article/53-agri-commodities/5751-benguet-to-regulate-vegetable-production

THE provincial government of Benguet is keen on regulating the production of temperate vegetables as the seasonal oversupply of the vegetables grown in the province is pulling down prices.

“Currently, there is an oversupply of vegetables because the holiday season is over. This is causing prices to decline. For example, cabbage is being sold at only P5 per kilo,” said Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan in a telephone interview.

At current prices, Fongwan said carrots sell for as low as P15 a kilo; potato, at P45 a kilo; broccoli, P7 to P8 a kilo; cauliflower, P8 to P10 a kilo; lettuce, P10 to P15 a kilo; Baguio beans, P6 to P8 a kilo; radish, P8 to P11 a kilo; cucumber P20 to P28 a kilo; parsley, P40 to P45 a kilo; zucchini, P6 to P8 a kilo; celery, P18 to P20 a kilo; and bell pepper, P50 to P70 a plastic.

Fongwan said the provincial government has spearheaded the formation of a cooperative whose primary objectives are to ensure that vegetable production will be enough to meet the demand of the domestic market and the stability of prices.

“There are still a few members of the cooperative. We are inviting farmers to become members,” he said in Filipino.

Fongwan noted that since December, Benguet has been producing around 3 million kilograms of various vegetables. Before December, the province’s vegetable output was only at 1 million kg.

To ease the supply and price problem, Fongwan said producers are keen on linking with high-end markets such as supermarkets, hotels and restaurants.

Meanwhile, the chief of the provincial government said that frost, which usually affects vegetables during the cold months, was only confined to farmlands in Atok town.

“Vegetable production in Atok is not even 1 percent of total output of vegetables in the province. So far, it’s still manageable,” said Fongwan.

Apart from the frost, the province is also vulnerable to storms.

The province of Benguet is a major source of highland vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots and lettuce, for Metro Manila.

Any disruption or changes in the supply of vegetables in the province could directly affect the price of temperate vegetables sold to Metro Manila consumers.

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