Agri dept says 'intervention' for farmers needed to pull down onion prices

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 27 2022 02:48 PM

George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Customers sift through red onions at a stall in Divisoria market in Manila on August 18, 2022. A group of onion farmers recently urged the government to delay importing white onions to address a shortage, adding that there was still enough supply of red onions to meet demand. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said it was looking into interventions in the supply chain to bring down the prices of red onions, which jumped to about P500 a kilo this week at some Metro Manila public markets. 

DA Deputy Spokesperson Rex Estoperez said the farm gate price of red onions was already at P300 per kilo. The produce is sold at a higher price if they are brought to Metro Manila by an agent, he said. 

Based on DA monitoring, red onions are sold at P480 to P520 in some markets, Estoperez said. 

"We have to address that also, kung papaanong intervention ang gagawin ng Department of Agriculture sa production areas," he said in a public briefing. 

"Tinitingnan natin kung saan tayo nagkukulang, even though alam natin there are imperfections sa sistema natin... May mga kailangan tayong intervention, lalong-lalo na doon sa atin pong value chain," he added. 

(We have to address that, what kind of intervention the Department of Agriculture should do in production areas. We are looking at where we are falling short, even though we know there are imperfections in our system. We need intervention, especially in our value-chain.)

Necessary interventions include credit for farmers, as well as assistance with logistics, transportation, cold storage, and packaging, he said. 

"The same is true with gulay, iyong mga gulay doon sa atin pong Mountain Province, sa Benguet... 'Pag hindi ma-improve ito, including yung resiliency natin sa climate change, hindi natin maa-address ito, patuloy na mangyayari ito," Estoperez said. 

(The same is true with our vegetables from the Mountain Province and Benguet. If we don't improve this, including our climate change resiliency, this will continue.) 


Video from PTV

Estoperez added that the country had enough onion supply. 

"Mayroon tayong supply, hindi sobra-sobra," he said. 

(We have a supply of red onions but there is no excess.) 

The DA is not yet considering importation to increase the supply, said the official.

"Nag-iingat kaming magbigay ng permit for importation of onions kasi baka mamaya n'yan, and'yan sa paligid iyong mga smuggled... 'Pag nag-issue tayo ng permit, patuloy na mag-iimport hanggang doon sa harvest season," he said. 

(We are cautious against giving importation permits because smuggled onions may already be here and importation could continue until the harvest season.)

The agency has no estimate yet on onion harvests for 2023, Estoperez said. He said some farmers had refused to plant onions on "thousands of acres" due to the high cost of production and potential losses from bad weather.