Marcos cautions DA about importing too much red onions

Published January 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Imelda “Imee” Marcos on Sunday urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure that the government’s plan to import metric tons of red onions would not affect the local harvest this coming March.

THE FARM WOMAN — This lady farm worker is busy harvesting onions at one of the fields in Nueva Ecija. Just last week, some 300 lady farmers rallied along the main street of Bongabon town to fight for equality in the farming industry, fair farm prices, and against importation. (Sheen Crisologo)
This lady farm worker is busy harvesting onions at one of the fields in Nueva Ecija.  (Sheen Crisologo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Marcos made the call following the government’s announcement that it has approved the importation of 35,000 metric tons of red onions in an effort to tame the high prices in the market.

The Senate economic affairs committee chief said she fears that an excess in imported red onions would end up rotting in government warehouses instead of achieving the purpose of bringing down market prices.

Marcos said a similar situation already occurred last year when the National Food Authority (NFA) imported millions of pesos worth of rice supposedly to stabilize rice prices, but the agency failed to bring down the market rates significantly.

At the same time, the senator expressed concern that local onion farmers would also feel the brunt of the price increases similar to what rice farmers experienced when rice importation significantly hurt their livelihood.

“Baka bumaha ng imported na sibuyas, at pagkatapos matetengga na naman ang mga aanihing local na sibuyas sa Marso (My concern is that our markets would be flooded by imported onions and then the local onions that would be harvested in March will be left to rot),” Marcos said.

“Tapos anong mangyayari? Ibebenta na lamang nang palugi ang mga lokal na sibuyas natin gaya sa nangyari sa lokal na palay sa bansa, na ikalulugi na naman ng ating mga maliliit na magsasaka (Then what will happen? Our farmers will be forced to sell their onions at a lower price like what happened with our local rice, and this will result to a great financial loss to our farmers),” she lamented.

The wholesale price of red onions in December averaged P195 per kilo, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

At groceries and supermarkets, red onions sold for P150 to P200 per kilo, or almost the same price of red meat.