MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Saturday admitted shortcomings in its resource mobilization that somehow affected the supply of onions in the market.
"Inaamin namin, yung may mga probelma din ang Department of Agrculture, may pagkukulang din tayo. Like for example sa supply chain," Rex Estoperez, spokesperson of the DA, said in an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Sabi nga namin, yang pagkukulang is more on the resource mobilization ng DA, how to bring this product sa ating merkado," he added.
The official said the prices of onions is due to the supply issue.
"Actually, meron tayo talagang kulang sa sibuyas, dahil dun sa ating rekomendasyon nga na mag-angkat na yun, iniingatan rin natin dahil nga meron tayong off-season harvest. That's according to them. 'December, may darating'... Masyadong manipis yung dumating... Yung presyo naman is a law of supply and demand... 'Pag mababa ang supply, tataas ang presyo," said Estoperez.
He stressed the agency has been consulting stakeholders and that the decision to import onions considered the required volume to help bring the price down.
Estoperez discouraged finger-pointing, saying everyone instead should help address the problem.
"May mga pagkukulang din ang Department of Agriculture pero... pagtulungan na lang natin. Huwag na tayo magsisihan kung sino ang may sala," he said.
"Even though kami, I will take the blame. Pero mahirap naman, ang mga kausap natin ay sisihin tayo na parang hindi naman natin sila kinonsulta. 'Di naman maganda yun," he added.
Prices of onion currently range from P400 to P600, putting additional strain on both consumers and business establishments in the face of an already elevated inflation.
The DA has recently ordered the importation of 21,060 metric tons of onions in the hopes of arresting the high prices.
Imported onions will arrive on Jan. 27 — ahead of the expected completion of the local harvest next month.
Rosendo So, president of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, said the importation doesn't guarantee it would pull down the prices of onions, saying traders could temporarily put them in cold storage and delay the sale.
The local harvest of around 20,000 metric tons until February may do so, however, he said.