Vegetables for the Rich People Only

Our entrepreneurship training is on its second to the last week. Seven days to go and I will be back to my regular day routine.

Today we have a guest speaker. His name is Arleen “Len” Valera – not a grammatical error because he is a real man. He is the president and chief executive officer of Pentagon Agribusiness Corporation. Their company is engaged in growing sweet corn. About 500-hectare plantation emerging from a 6-hectare lot.

Aside from giving us an inspirational message, he also said something that is very interesting:

Before: Poor families can afford only vegetables as their viand.
Now: Only rich people are able to buy vegetables. Poor families can afford only instant noodles and canned sardines as their food on table.

Vegetable prices continue to rise and more of them cost higher than meat. Cheap veggies are now becoming less affordable.  Though I never feel the trend cause I am living in provincial area and we get our vegetable needs from my fathers’s farm. The situation is real in urban areas where all family needs came from public markets, groceries and super malls.

patani sa balag

Increase in price of veggies are due to following factors:

1) Scarcity of food supply due to climate change. Typhoons , lack of rain fall and floods lower the volume of production. Producers need to increase selling price to compensate for the lost inputs. Low supply and high demand make the price higher.

2) Industrialization and urbanization. Conversion of agricultural land areas to factories, super malls, parks and residential areas lower agricultural inputs.

3) Globalization. Transfer of goods to foreign territories. Foods that supposed to be on our plate are eaten by foreign population.

4) Other uses. Example: United States is now using corn for their fuel needs. The crop is also used for livestock feeds. These increase the demand for corn. Again, high demand calls for a high price.

5) Hoarding. Some vegetables  and spices are stable enough to be stored for about weeks or more (e.g. potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, ginger). Some large capitalists are intentionally stopping the flow of supply to increase product’s price. They will release stocks when the desired price is met.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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