MANILA — A farmers' group is calling on government to create more cold storage facilities amid soaring retail prices of agricultural commodities, especially onions.
According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Rafael Mariano, the country currently has 68 cold chain facilities in which 27 are found in Metro Manila and 10 in Nueva Ecija.
"Mahalaga 'yung pagdadagdag ng cold storage facilities dahil unang-una mapapaliit natin 'yung post-harvest losses at matitiyak natin 'yung sulit namang presyo sa ating mga nagtatanim ng sibuyas," he told ANC's "Rundown".
The price of onions has skyrocketed to P700 per kilo in some public markets in the capital region, according to the monitoring of the Department of Agriculture.
"'Pag ganiyan 'yung presyo, 'yung isang kilo ng sibuyas katumbas na ng isang sako ng palay, ibig sabihin may poder ang gobyerno para talaga magpairal ng mandated price ceiling," Mariano said.
"Hindi dapat pinababayaan 'yung ating mga mamamayan, 'yung ating mga maliliit na consumers na ganiyan 'yung presyo."
The DA has already imposed a P250 per kilo suggested retail price on red onions, which Mariano says is still too high.
The gap between farm-gate and retail prices of agricultural commodities should be at 70 percent, he said.
"Kaya po ganiyan eh, namamayagpag 'yung malalaking traders, 'yung malalaking importers, pwede nating isama 'yung mga smugglers sa presyo ngayon ng sibuyas," Mariano said.
"Talagang para bang waring hindi mo pa hinihiwa 'yung sibuyas, maiiyak ka na sa presyo."
The KMP is also proposing a subsidized "store now, sell later" scheme in different local government units.
He said farmers could store their crop in cold storage facilities to tame high prices and ensure adequate supply in the off season.