The Department of Agriculture (DA) hopes that the price of onions will drop now that the government’s imports from other countries are set to arrive — because it reaches about P600/kilo while “there is a supply problem.”
It was Tuesday when the order of the DA — headed by Marcos Jr — was made public to issue import clearances for 21,060 metric tons of onions, something that should have arrived before January 27th.
“We are looking at the P100-150 (per kilo) cap,” said DA deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez, Thursday, in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“These are estimates only because we have to get first the final price of the importers and the second is that we also have to consider the cost of production of our farmer.”
It was only in December when the price of onions soared to P720/kilo, which coincided with the 8.1% inflation rate that month. Onions sold in the country are said to be the most expensive in the world.
According to Estoperez, imported onions cannot arrive beyond the set time to protect local farmers. It is said that the government expects the harvest to peak at that time.
Gov’t expects P100/kilo upon arrival of imported onions
Earlier, ACT Teachers Rep France Castro and the Agricultural Industry Association said that the import was “wrong timing” especially that January to March is often the harvesting period in the Philippines. It would have been nice to have done this at the end of 2022 while only 2% was harvesting.
He said that imports would reduce the income of farmers, especially since prices are expected to drop when harvest begins.
“Kung bumaba yan ng ?40 farmgate price, lugi na ang magsasaka. Yung ?40 is around, per hectare mga ?400,000 ang makukuha lang nila pero ang puhunan umaabot ng ?650,000 per hectare so malulugi ang magsasaka,” said Rosendo So, president of SINAG, in a separate interview.
Estoperez assured that the importation is “calibrated” regarding its time and quantity, enough for the DA to say that it will not affect the local harvest.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reiterated that farmers and consumers would affect the importation plan, especially since only “importers, traders and smugglers” would benefit from it.