Prices of red onion in Philippines may go down in February: group

Rowegie Abanto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2023 12:00 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2023 01:16 PM

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MANILA — Prices of onions in the Philippines may go down to as low as P120 per kilo as local farmers are projected to harvest around 20,000 metric tons of the staple Filipino spice next month.

Rosendo So, president of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo on Saturday that farm gate price of onions might decrease to P80-P100 a kilo and could be sold at P120–150/kilo in retail stores following the harvest.

The price of local onions currently hovers between P400 and P600 a kilo in some wet markets, based on the agriculture department's monitoring. 

So attributed the soaring prices to the government's non-importation of onions last year. "'Yung panahon na dapat mag-angkat tayo, 'di tayo nag-angkat kaya nag-spike 'yung presyo nang ganoon kataas," he said.

(When we should have imported, we did not so the price spiked that high.)

Rex Estoperez, the spokesperson of the Department of Agriculture, explained that they refused to import onions at the time because many onions were being confiscated.

"Hindi tayo nag-import, pinabayaan natin nung Christmas, tumaas ang presyo, [kasi] may mga pumapasok na off-season harvest pero napakanipis na hindi makapagpa-pull down ng price natin," he said.

(We didn't import and sustained it until Christmas, and the price went up because there are off-season harvests coming in but it wasn't that much that we can't pull down our price anymore.)

This week, the Department of Agriculture approved the importation of 21,060 metric tons of onions to tame the rising price of the commodity.
Estoperez said they expect the imported onions to arrive on Jan. 27. 

"'Yung timeline nun, 'must arrive' iyon, para di tamaan 'yung sinasabi ng ating stakeholders na by mid-February ay mayroon ng ani," he said.

(That should arrive on time to avoid what our stakeholders are saying that by mid-February there will be a harvest.)

However, So said the importation doesn't guarantee that it would bring down the prices because traders could temporarily put them in cold storage and delay the sale.