Vegetable retail traders in La Trinidad Benguet continue to sell their produce amidst the significant drop in prices brought about by the low consumer demand when festivals and events were cancelled due to the 2019 coronavirus disease scare.  (PNA photo)

The scare brought about by the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) which led to the cancelation of Baguio festivals and other events had the same negative effect on the vegetable industry in the region.

Agot Balanoy, head of the Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative, said the first two months of the year have been very challenging.

The sales of locally-produced vegetables significantly dropped due to the suspension of its most popular annual Panagbenga or the Baguio Flower Festival.

The festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists, dwindled sharply and led to lower orders for food from hotels, restaurants and resorts.

Balanoy pointed out that while the supply of vegetables remains steady, the demand is low which causes prices to remain at below its production cost in La Trinidad.

Last February 10, she noted that the wholesale price of cabbage at the La Trinidad Trading Post was ranging from P4 to P8 per kilo for the Mighty Ball variety but this dropped to P3 to P6 yesterday. 

Aside from vegetables coming in from Mountain Province and Ifugao, around 130,000 Benguet farmers supply vegetables in different markets nationwide. 

This situation will benefit the end consumers but it is hurting the vegetable traders and farmers as they absorb the losses due to unsold and rotten products. (Jojo Mangahis)