Press Release
February 5, 2007


Senator Mar Roxas urged the Department of Agriculture and National Price Coordinating Council to look into reports that unscrupulous traders are taking advantage of frost in Benguet and Baguio City to jack up the prices of vegetables in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

Roxas , also known as Mr. Palengke, said prices of vegetables in some Metro Manila markets have gone up despite assurances of the Department of Agriculture that the so-called winter chill experienced in northern provinces should not result in higher vegetable prices.

We call on the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry to check the price levels of vegetables from Baguio City and Benguet to make sure that unscrupulous traders are not out to profit from our farmers sad predicament, Sen. Roxas added.

In Baguio City, it has been reported that broccoli, which used to sell for P35 to P40 a kilo now sells at P50 a kilo; carrots, now P35 a kilo; and cauliflower, P40 a kilo.

Roxas , however, pointed out that traders attribute the increase in prices of these vegetables not to the cold weather but to increase demand from Baguio City visitors who have been drawn to the city by the cold weather.

The chairman of the Senate committees on trade, commerce and economic affairs stressed the need for closer coordination between and among the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the DTI and DA since weather patterns are ever changing and these have a direct effect on agricultural produce.

Roxas also called on the government to extend full assistance to vegetable farmers in Benguet and Baguio City whose crops may have been damaged by the exceedingly low temperatures in those areas.

This is a perennial problem that government needs to address and become more sensitive to, the senator from Capiz said, adding that some traders may just be taking advantage of the cold spell to mark up their profits.

According to news reports, the municipalities of Atok, Kibungan and Buguias were hard hit by the frost or ice crystals thus damaging vegetables in their flowering, vegetative, and harvesting stages.

In 2005, farmers in the Cordillera incurred losses of at least P20 million due to frost. These farmers have been requesting for assistance in putting up greenhouses to protect their crops from perennial frost.

Damage to crops this year due to frost and wind chills are estimated at P10-M.

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