DTI official says Marcos has approved limiting onion traders to bring down prices

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2023 05:20 PM

MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved several initiatives proposed by Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual to help regulate the soaring prices of onions in the country, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) disclosed Monday.

This is as the DTI vowed to assist the Department of Agriculture in addressing the issue with Filipinos still struggling with high food prices.

In a televised interview, DTI Usec. Ruth Castelo said that while the agency has yet to make an announcement on these initiatives, one of the measures approved by the President is to limit the number of traders involved in the supply chain of imported and locally produced onions to bring down prices.

“Syempre kailangan na talagang tumulong ang DTI as our contribution to food security. Agricultural products ito pero mayroon nang initiatives proposed ni Secretary Pascual, which the President naman approved,” she said.

(Of course, the DTI really has to help as our contribution to the country's food security. These are agricultural products but there are already initiatives proposed by DTI Sec. Pascual which the President approved.)

“Kaya lang hindi pa natin madetalye o madisclose except that ang pinakamalaking sabihin natin ngayon malilimit natin ang traders mababawasan ang supply chain sa gitna between the farmer and the trader.”

(However, we cannot disclose the details yet except for the initiative that we can limit traders now to shorten the supply chain between the farmer and the trader.)

Castelo pointed out that the more traders are involved, the higher the markup of prices of onions will be once they reach local markets.

She pointed out that imported onions, which have a landed cost of only P14 but are being sold by as high as P350 per kilo in some NCR markets.

“We have data from the BOC (Bureau of Customs) na ang landed cost ng imported onion is only P14. So makikita natin ang pinakamababa nyan sa market is P180 in only one market in the National Capital Region. Pinakamataas pa rin as of today is P300, mayroon pang P350 but in Puregold… meron silang P179-P180 na local onions,” she said.

(We have data from the Bureau of Customs that the landed cost of imported onion is only P14. We know that its lowest price in the market is P180 in only one market in the National Capital Region. Its highest selling price as of today is P300 sometimes even P350, but in a local market brand, they sell local onions for around P180.)

“So kita natin pababa na once na tuloy-tuloy na ang harvest ng local producers, maibaba na rin yan. Kailangan din natin mapababa ang presyo ng imported onions naman, kasi from the landed cost as our starting point, tinitignan natin kung paano natin mababawasan ang markup na nasa presyuhan nila,” the official added.

(So, we can see that the prices are going down and once there has been a continuous harvest from local producers, the prices will further continue to go down. We also need to bring down the prices of imported onion because, from the landed cost as our starting point, we're eyeing how to lessen the markup of the traders' prices.)