AGRICULTURE Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez led the Department of Agriculture (DA) in inspecting one of two vegetable trading posts in Benguet to determine the cause of price discrepancies between Benguet vegetable sales and their price when taken to lowland markets.
“It is not reasonable when vegetables are priced at P30 a kilo here but are sold for P120 in Manila,” Estoperez said.
Estoperez said that the DA intends to observe the whole process from farm to lowland market to find out where the costs increase.
According to Science and Technology Undersecretary Leah Buendia, vegetable and fruit losses during transit can be as high as 52 percent of the cargo being transported due to multiple factors, which could be a reason for the price discrepancy.
The DOST said that one major factor in the loss of crop was the terrain of the Cordillera region itself, where the fully-packed transport trucks end up bruising the produce when they ascend or descend the region’s steep slopes.
Even slight abrasions on sensitive strawberries could allow molds to take over, spoiling a large portion of the cargo, while up to 69 percent of broccoli and 35 percent of carrot can spoil in transit due to bruising.
However, according to the DOST, proper packaging can reduce transit spoilage by as much as 30 percent.