Amid rising prices, the Philippine government has detected a shortfall in the country’s vegetable supply for this year.
In a virtual briefing Thursday, Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes assured that there is enough vegetable supply in the country, but his agency’s latest food supply outlook offered a different picture.
Based on the DA’s 2021 supply and demand outlook for vegetables, which was presented during the same briefing, the country’s projected local production of vegetables stood at 1.69 million metric tons (MT).
At the same time, the country is also expected to import vegetables of about 20,000 MT, which will boost the total supply up to 1.71 million MT, the same data showed.
“That is a lot of supply,” Reyes said, referring to the data. “At least, the planting is continuous and we will make sure the supply gets here in Metro Manila and nearby areas”.
The problem is that according to the same data, the projected annual demand stood at 2.01 million MT, which is based on the projected population of 110.19 million and a per capita consumption of 18.24 kilograms per year.
Moving forward, Reyes said Agriculture Secretary William Dar already ordered DA’s regional offices to work with traders to make sure the supply is distributed efficiently in Metro Manila and other areas in the National Capital Region (NCR).
There is also a move to build processing facilities and trading houses, as well as expand the agency’s urban agriculture program, which will involve the distribution of free seeds and planting materials to barangays and schools across the country.
Based on the price monitoring report of the DA, nothing much has changed in the prevailing price of some vegetables and spices like chili in the country as of January 14 compared to prices at the start of the year.
Compared to their January 4, 2021 price, the prevailing price for chili and garlic, for instance, are still P800 per kilogram (/kg) and P100/kg.
For lowland vegetables, the price of ampalaya went up to P150/kg from P120/kg, while the price of eggplant inched up to P160/kg from P140/kg. Pechay was also costlier from P60/kg to P70/kg.
The prevailing price of sitao, on the other hand, went down to P100/kg from P120/kg, while
For highland vegetables, the price of cabbage remained the same at P180/kg, while the prevailing prices of carrots and pechay slightly went down from P180/kg and P160/kg to P10/kg and P150/kg, respectively.
Reyes said the DA will likewise provide transport vans and facilities under the agency’s Kadiwa marketing program to address the high price of vegetables in Metro Manila.
The DA’s Kadiwa push was launched in a bid to give Filipino consumers direct access to farm products amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.