Import dependence causes red onion prices to rise – Mindanao Times

THE RECENT surge in red onion prices to 600 pesos per kilo by the end of 2021 ended due to reliance on imports.

Former agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol expressed concern about the recent price hike.

“The ‘onion crisis’, which has seen the price of red onions rise, is another painful lesson that the Philippines should not depend on importing products that local farmers could produce,” he said. he declares.

The senatorial aspirant cited that onion is grown in Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Mindoro, Iloilo and even Mindanao, but the expansion of onion farms is hampered by the annual flood of imports from China, including he admitted that they are cheaper.

“The problem of being dependent on imports; if foreign suppliers increase their prices, our government will not have a choice because of the low supply. This will also happen on the price of rice. If we do not change the law on rice pricing, importers and traders will control prices, ”Piñol stressed.

He also added that the country has a large area that can be planted with white and red onion bulbs with a temperature range of 13-25 degrees centigrade, made up of all types of soils such as sandy loam, silt loam and heavy clay soils with a pH range between 5.8-6.5 and good drainage.

“When the Philippines was not inundated with cheap imported onions, production was high, even allowing farmers to export shallots to Indonesia,” Piñol added.

He also pointed out that among the problems faced by the local bulb onion industry are – onion producers not having access to credit, lack of technical support, lack of cold storage facilities where onions harvested during the peak season could be stored to protect farmers from traders’ exploitation, the absence of clear government policies to support local producers and a heavy reliance on imports leading to lower prices up to 10 P per kilo during the high season.

He said the problem will not be resolved until traders and middlemen monopolize the marketing and distribution of basic food products.

“We need to reform our marketing system and, as I proposed earlier, there is a need to relaunch Food Terminal Inc., to improve its coverage to be able to establish regional food consolidation centers to buy, process, store and distribute basic food items. like bulb onions, ”Piñol said.

He said that with a guaranteed price of P 40 per kilogram to be delivered to regional food consolidation centers where onions could be stored, Filipino farmers could produce enough onions for the country.

“One of the main agricultural reforms that I intend to introduce if elected to the Senate would be the creation of regional food consolidation centers managed by the FTI in production areas and farmers’ shops. and fishermen in major cities like Metro Manila and Cebu. so that consumers can buy farm-fresh produce at a lower price, ”Piñol said.

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