Rose farmers lose income to fuel, farm input price hikes

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — The recent increase in fuel and farm input prices would cut off some 20% to 50% of the gross income of rose farmers.

This according to Jun Angeles, a rose farmer in Alno, La Trinidad, Benguet. He said that this February they would loose some 20% because it is peak season and there is higher demand for flowers. “But if the increase happened during our lean months it would cost us 50%,” he said.

Angeles is not however sure if the increases in fuel and farm inputs has something to do with the new tax law, Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

Angeles said that prices of the insecticide and fungicide he uses increased by P50 to P60 pesos just this January. He said that a sachet of insecticide now costs P450 each while the fungicide is now P550 per sachet. He added that there was no increase in prices of fertilizers just yet.

Angeles also said that in January there was a P2.50 increase per liter of vehicle fuel. He added that this February, there was an additional P1 increase. “I heard there will soon be another increase in fuel price,” he said.

Angeles could not estimate how wide his flower farm is. But he said he consumes some four to nine sachets of insecticide and fungicide in one application. One sachet is diluted in one or two drums of water depending on the season. insecticide and fungiside is sprayed on the roses every four days.

He said that during peak season they dilute one sachet in one drum of water to ensure more beautiful flowers that would last longer. He said that during the lean months they dilute one sachet in two drums of water.

“We spend more during peak season for better quality harvest for a chance at a better income,” he said.

Angeles said that apart from farm inputs, some rose farmers pay land rent. He said that land rent ranges from P25,000 to P80,000 a year. He said that farm land in flat areas are more expensive than those along the mountain slopes. “You can plant more on flat areas,” he said.

Angeles said they do not have a hand in the selling price. He said that at the moment, the traders gets 10% and the farmers gets 90% but the farmers shoulders all the cost of production from labor to farm inputs to transportation.

“We just give our harvest to our traders and collect our share when our roses are sold,” he said.

So far, Angeles said he already harvested some 500 bundles of roses, long and short stem combined. “There is only a few left in the farm now, we have already harvested and transported most of the roses for this Valentine’s,” he said.

Ligaya Pumihic, a rose trader in Metro Manila, said that at the moment, whole sale price for roses is still at P700 per bundle. One bundle is two dozens of roses.

Pumihic said flower whole sale prices are largely dependent on supply and demand. “If there is oversupply we cannot jack up our selling price because we will not be able to sell enough,” she said.

“We can not jack up our prices too and risk not being able to sell any,” she said.

Pumihic said that during off peak months they could sell some 20 boxes of roses at the most but during peak months they could sell some 50 to 70 boxes. She said that a box contains an 50 bundles of roses on the average; a bundle is two dozen. # nordis.net

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