DA sees higher vegetable prices
By Karl R. Ocampo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 16, 2021 at 5:00 am

Filipino consumers must brace themselves for another wave of possible price increases in vegetables this year after data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed a projected shortage in the country’s supply of produce.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes, in a briefing on Thursday, presented the agency’s supply and demand forecast for selected agricultural commodities. Based on the country’s most consumed vegetables, it showed that both local and imported supply could only meet 78.4 percent of demand.

Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Kristine Evangelista said this could mean a shortage of selected vegetables and an oversupply in another, depending on the crop. This could increase retail prices further.

Based on the DA’s data, projected local production for this year was at 1.69 million metric tons (MT) while demand was estimated to hit 2 million MT. Without imports, the country’s supply may even only cover 77.4 percent of consumption.

Over the past months, consumers were already complaining of higher food prices, reflected not only in vegetables but in poultry and pork meat as well, and selected fish variants. Some prices have gone up by as much as 66 percent from last month alone.

The DA officials have blamed the higher prices on numerous factors such as the ongoing pandemic, the devastating typhoons that destroyed crops, and the unwillingness of poultry and hog raisers to farm anew following the glut and the spread of the African swine fever, respectively.

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