Rise in Metro Manila veggie prices blamed on Typhoon Ineng

Pia Ranada
Rise in Metro Manila veggie prices blamed on Typhoon Ineng
The typhoon has damaged almost P41 million worth of crops in the Cordillera Administrative Region, most of which are high value crops like vegetables

MANILA, Philippines – The rise in vegetable prices in Metro Manila markets is likely due to Typhoon Ineng’s impact on Northern Luzon, said the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday, August 24.

Prices of vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, ampalaya (bitter melon), pechay, and kangkong (water spinach) rose during the weekend of August 22 as Ineng (international name Goni) raged in Northern Luzon. In the case of some vegetables, prices have doubled.

The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), a major source of vegetables in the country, suffered the most agricultural losses due to Ineng, according to August 23 DA data.

Of the P40.86 million ($891,000) production loss due to the typhoon, the biggest loss in production value was in high value crops from CAR at P24,008,783 ($521,000). This is the value of the 908 metric tons of high value crops damaged by Ineng.

Next was corn at P16,456,643 ($347,000) followed by losses in rice production value at P396,948.

Vegetable basket of Luzon

Out of all CAR provinces, Benguet suffered the highest losses at P17.5 million ($380,000) worth of high value crops damaged.

The mountainous province is the number one supplier of vegetables to Metro Manila, contributing around 80% of supply, said DA Undersecretary for Operations Emerson Palad.

Despite the number of lost crops, Palad said the rise in vegetable prices is likely not due to insufficient supply of crops in CAR.

“I think it’s not the issue of supply but of transportation because the roads are blocked that’s why there was an unusual spike in our vegetables. As soon as the roads are back to normal, we will see the prices stabilize,” he told media.

He appealed to traders not to take advantage of the typhoon to raise prices. The agency will be monitoring markets to observe any suspicious fluctuation of prices given that the typhoon is already outside the country.

The department is still verifying reports that 460 hectares of rice in Ilocos Norte were partially damaged by Typhoon Ineng. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.