PASUQUIN, Ilocos Norte, June 22 – A top garlic trader said the prevailing garlic prices are driven by market forces and it may stabilize in the coming months.
Wilfredo Valdez, president of federated vegetable growers association in Region 1, said garlic prices currently soared because of limited supply.
“When rainy season sets in, prices of vegetables in the market normally increase because of low production during the previous dry period,” he said.
He expressed optimism that vegetable prices will be back to normal in the next few months as the vegetable crops planted in the onset of rainy season would have been harvested.
Valdez was satisfied that garlic prices are high noting that current farm gate price of garlic in Pasuquin town had already reached P200 per kilo.
Pasuquin town is considered the biggest garlic producing-town in Region 1 where 620 hectares of land are planted with garlic annually.
“We are very happy with the current high price of our garlic product. However, the great beneficiaries of high prices are the middlemen,” he said,
He said farmers’ garlic stock is thinning out because they have sold them to middlemen.
“Our (present) garlic stocks now are intended for planting materials in September or October,” he stressed.
On the other hand, Valdez expressed the belief that the sudden increase garlic prices is due to the strict implementation of anti-smuggling campaign on garlic by the Bureau of Customs.
“I hope that the ban of smuggled garlic to the country continues for the protection of our local garlic industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos urged the local farmers to plant more vegetables especially garlic.
She cited that the high demand of garlic in the market is a good development for the industry because more farmers will earn higher income.
Last year, Governor Marcos assisted the provision of garlic and onion seeds assistance, organic fertilizers and tractors for the farmers to boost the garlic and onion production in the province. (MCA/FGL, PIA -1 Ilocos Norte)