By Raîssa Robles
For lunch today, we decided to eat tacos made by my hubby Alan. Because we had no tomatoes for the delicious salsa, I went to the corner store to buy some.
I was shocked when the seller told me that nine small tomatoes cost P38.65 because prices had shot up to 75 pesos per kilo. That’s equal to US$1.71 per kilo.
That’s four pesos for one tomato! The jump was so high I just had to take a photo. Here it is. Just a little bigger than one lanzones.
Okay, it’s partly the floods and the rain, I know. And maybe the recent hike in toll rates. But tomatoes are some of the easiest plants to grow. And they could even grow without soil.
Besides, the entire country was not devastated.
I’ve noticed – starting from the mid-point of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency – that prices of food being grown in our country have really risen way, way up. And they continue to rise.
Five years ago, the groceries I used to buy for 1,000 pesos now cost triple that.
I had this impression that we are still an agricultural country and that we grow most of our food.
I have a sneaking suspicion that our prices for basic food commodities are higher than in other Southeast Asian countries.
Why is that?
I wonder if these are higher than those in the US.
Or maybe prices of meat, vegetables and fruits in Metro Manila are very skewed, compared to other parts of the country.
Let me go back to the lowly tomato. There are usually two kinds of tomato varieties in the market – the usual small tomato and the “salad tomato” which is bigger and quite expensive.
The small tomato has been a staple in the Filipino diet.
However, as Dr. Mahar Mangahas of Social Weather Stations pointed out in his column yesterday, the National Statistics Coordination Board has quietly eliminated the tomato from the daily diet of the poor. He noted that before, the average breakfast of the poor was estimated – for statistical purposes – to consist of
- one tomato omelet
- fried rice
- coffee for adults and milk for children
The NSCB changed this breakfast to:
- scrambled egg
- boiled rice
- coffee with milk
Now, no more tomato in the egg and for good reason. They are TOO expensive.
But it’s not just the poor hurting from sky-high food prices.
Even those in the middle class, like me, are finding it difficult to cope nowadays.
It would really, really be a pity if all the good government programs and good intentions of the PNoy government will come to nothing because many Filipinos can no longer afford to eat staples like the lowly tomato.
ms. raissa, the aquino-cojuangco clan should really thank you. you’re like their ultimate psg in the cyber world. whenever someone tries to insult them you defend them right away. who ever they are against, you are against. they are lucky to have people in the media protect their image and “let the truth out”.
So you think they will thank me for this –
Before you post, you read, OK?
And by the way, a Happy Easter to you. I hope you find your identity and courage instead of staying anonymous when you post.
Gerardo Barrica says
It is not the doing of Pnoy that prices are up. This problem is global and one should understand that there is more to it than just economics.
The present governments of men are never fair. Greed dominates in government policies that only exacerbate the situation.
If you want to understand better watch Israel and the Middle East in Turmoil.
What are PNoy’s good intentions in regard to keeping prices of commodities at bay? I have seen prices skyrocket so many times in the last 2 years. And more taxes are coming . . . so why are you surprised that prices of tomato has gone up?
Because it is one of the most common food items i Metro Manila and it’s easy to grow.
Mark Anthony Bolivar Andrade says
Prices never goes down, and if it does it will go up again. . . ECONOMICS is very simple, the law of supply and demand, remember? duh…! useless article – just made to poison the minds of the people they can. . . Grow Up…!
well said . . .
WHY THE F*CK ARE WE IMPORTING SO MUCH JUNK FOOD FROM THE US AND OTHER COUNTRIES?? Their price dumping-tactics to get rid of their over-production is really what killed our local food production in the first place!! Damn it, we are even importing RICE!! Who in their right mind would buy imported rice??! thats what you might think, but the sad truth is that imported rice from japan or the states is cheaper than locally grown rice because it is substituted by their governments to keep prices for their farmers stable! HOW COME OUR GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PROTECT OUR FARMERS BY TAXING SUCH IMPORTS??? (PNOY is to busy trying to get laid or trying to cover up that he is actually gay to care!) To me that is just totally insane!! F*CK GLOBALIZATION!! We as consumers have to make the conscious decision to buy only local product, even if it means we have to pay higher prices in the beginning. Only by doing that can we create demand. Only through a steady domestic demand will our farmers have incentive to produce food again.
Please go back to your Economic teacher and ask why prices of vegebles including tomato are higher after series of typhoons or better yet, instead of spending your time sowing intrigues against OUR government, go to the market vendors themselves, and ask. I am sure you will learn a lot from them.
@ Bong: Please read the newspapers (NOT Bulgar!) it is not the typhoons that cause the prices of food to rise, at least not in the way that they have risen recently! after the financial crisis, when the margin of betting on derivates and sold depts was not interesting enough anymore, people started looking for other ways to earn fast cash. For example betting on food prices and commodities, the rise and fall of the price, making billions – which resulted in higher food prices and increase of poverty globally. I don not expect someone that voted for PNOY (who by the way is totally gay!) to understand how things connect globally.
Hi, when you say PNoy is gay you should back that up with evidence.
Right! I live on the 15th floor of a bldg and the two windows with access to sunlight, one in my bedroom, is filled with potted herbs..rosemary, a couple of pots of money trees– hopefully they will bear money soon…(just kidding!)..have to try tomatoes yet..and some more herbs.
Anyway, after the wake of Ondoy, I think, us tomato growers from the provinces outside Luzon sold our crates of tomatoes to dealers for transport to Manila markets for 800 – 1k a crate that then got retailed for 80 to a 100 per kilo.We made good money there but sad to say, at the expense of the growers in the flooded/rainy areas of Luzon.Tomatoes favor rains at night and full sunlight at daytime
Rallie F. Cruz says
An agricultural country where a seed would easily germinate anywhere you throw it even in the polluted city sidewalk; claiming short of vegetable or fruit to eat is paramount to saying that we really have come down to the level of not only lazy but ignorant nation.
Tomato of all plants can easily be raised in a corner or even above the kitchen tops if one will really find a way. I wish that Dr. Mangahas would work according to his family name daring all the people to take a challenge of raising their own crops not just telling statistics about the poor condition of the country.
Due to Climate Change food shortages are occurring around the world thus the hike in prices. I’m not sure if this is the case here but I suspect it is.