Chiz urges gov’t to study impact of El Niño on prices of garlic

12020047_10153581315225610_3447749479050107453_nSen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the government to look into the plea of garlic growers in northern Philippines to raise the farmgate price of garlic to boost the income of farmers grappling with high cost of production.

“The government, through the Department of Agriculture, can help protect farmer income by setting minimum farmgate prices that are reasonable because right now garlic farmers are complaining about the low price they receive when selling their produce,” Escudero pointed out.

The vice-presidential frontrunner said the government may consider a temporary increase in farmgate prices of garlic to partly offset the impact of El Niño, which triggered high agricultural input costs, including water.

“The lack of rain has definitely increased farmers’ input costs. High requirement for agricultural inputs means bigger production costs. ,” Escudero said.

Farmers said the current farmgate price of prime class garlic ranges from P90 to P100 per kilo, which they say are “too low,” and wanted the price to be pegged at P150 in order to counter the high cost of farms inputs aggravated by the El Niño dry spell that is expected to linger until the middle of the year.

“However, this should require a careful study in order to temper a sudden increase in prices that would affect our consumers. We don’t want this to happen either,” Escudero said.