MANILA — The Department of Agriculture is trying to look into the supposed supply shortage of red onions, as prices per kilogram soared to P300 in some wet markets this week.
Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said the supply of red onions seemed "sufficient" based on data collated by the Bureau of Plant Industry, but other factors may have contributed to its possible shortage.
The agency's inventory of red onions is currently at 13,000 metric tons, while farmers' harvest for this month may reach up to 5,000 metric tons, noted Evangelista.
Demand for red onions for this month is at 17,000 metric tons, she said, "if we look at that, we look sufficient."
"However, we are also looking into — alam naman natin na ang mga consumers natin and institutional buyers na dati white onion ang ginagamit nag-shift sa red onion," Evangelista said during a public briefing.
"Puwedeng affected ngayon ang data pagdating sa demand so that is something also being loooked into ng Bureau of Plant Industry, to see the real supply and sufficiency situation pagdating sa onions," she added.
The agriculture department has yet to decide on whether or not to import red and white onions, pending the recommendation of the Bureau of Plant Industry.
This, even as Evangelista noted that the supply of both red and white onions are usually tight at a certain time of the year.
"Ang kanilang gagawin is to find out from our producers, from our onion farmers and to really verify yung kanilang inaasahang harvest para malaman natin yung supply situation natin," she said.
"Ang pumapasok na kailangang tingnan din is yung timing ng importation at volume, ang ating pilit na iniiwasan ay ang pagbaha ng mga imported na sibuyas sa taon na mayroong harvest kaya napaka-importante na accurate ang data na makuha ng Bureau of Plant Industry sa ating stakeholders."
A calibrated approach on importation must be followed, as this should protect farmers' harvest.