Metro Manila markets start selling imported onions

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2023 05:14 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2023 06:42 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Imported onions go for sale at the Pasig City Mega Market on Jan. 25, 2023. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA (UPDATE)— Metro Manila markets have started selling imported onions at a lower price compared to the local produce.

At the Pasay Public Market, imported onions were sold at P190 a kilo, cheaper than the P230 per kilo of local onions. 

According to the Department of Agriculture's price watch, the prevailing price of imported onion ranges from P180 to P210 a kilo, while local onions are mostly sold at P240 and above.

Retailers in the market say this is good news as onions are now more affordable for consumers.

"Sabi nila salamat bumaba meron na silang panggisa. Mas maganda rin kasi di na sila nababahala na bawang na lang i-ano namin, 'wag na sibuyas," said Pasay vendor Arlene Padilla.

(They are thankful because the prices are lower and they can now use onions in dishes. Customers are no longer worried that we won't sell onions, just garlic.)

Government set Jan. 27, Friday, as the deadline for entry of imported onions into the country. The harvest season of local onions meanwhile started this month. 

Assistant Secretary for Consumer Affairs Kristine Evangelista said "too many layers of traders" had pushed up the prices of local onions.

"Dito sa local, nakita po natin na may mga players, ang daming layers ng traders and that definitely affects 'yung presyo sa retail market," she said.

"'Yun ang isa sa mga dapat tutukan ng kagawaran to keep on capacitating farmers to be able to sell their produce direct to the market, by doing so, ma-eliminate yung mga unnecessary layers ng traders. 'Yun ang isa sa nakita naming rason bakit mataas ang presyo ng lokal na produkto."

(Locally, we have seen that there are players and many layers of traders, and that definitely affects the price in the retail market. That's one of the things that the department should focus on, to keep on capacitating farmers to be able to sell their produce directly to the market. And by doing so, the unnecessary layers of traders will be eliminated. That's one of the reasons we found why the price of local products is high.)


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr ordered a multi-stakeholder meeting on Monday with importers, traders, retailers and farmers to discuss the price of onions, the Palace said. 

The DA said onion prices could drop to P100 to P150 per kilo with the arrival of imported onions. 

The agency wants to prevent the prices of onions from fluctuating daily, Evangelista said. 

This is the difference in size between an imported and a locally grown onion. Imported onions are much bigger, yet cheaper compared to local onions. Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Imported onions are bigger and rounder compared to local onions.

The Bureau of Plant Industry explained that local onions are classified as "red creole", which has lower water content that allows longer storage. 

On the other hand, imported onions fall under the "grano" type, which has higher water content and shorter shelf life.

— With a report from Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News 

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