DA introduces interventions to assist onion growers in Occidental Mindoro

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – The regional office of the Department of Agriculture here is doubling its efforts in assisting onion growers by inking an agreement with private storage facilities and a supermarket chain to address the problem of overproduction of onions that practically leads to farmgate price.

Department of Agriculture technicians inspect the storage facility of Royale Cold Storage in Cabuyao, Laguna where the harvested onions from Occidental Mindoro will be temporarily stored while the price of onion is still below their production cost of P15-P18 per kilo. (Photo courtesy of DA-MIMAROPA/ Jerry Alcayde-Manila Bulletin)

Antonio G. Gerundio, regional executive director of DA-MIMAROPA, said his office has already entered into an agreement with Royale Cold Storage, a private entity in Cabuyao, Laguna, to accommodate the procured onion produce of their partner cooperatives.

Gerundio said their partner cooperatives have already brought 16,000 bags and are bringing more to the Royale facility that can accommodate more than 153,000 metric tons with a total capacity of 15,552 pallets.

Gerundio also announced that two onion cooperatives from Occidental Mindoro are scheduled to have a business meeting with Walter Mart to explore the possibility of these groups supplying onions to the supermarket chain.

Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) has also pledged to provide space for onions but allocated only three container vans for the farmers due to their limited space.

The regional DA has also told the cooperatives to sell their onion produce to KADIWA in Las Pinas, Parañaque, and other areas in the south of Metro Manila.

Due to overproduction of red onion in Occidental Mindoro the current farmgate price is now down to P 12 to 15 per kilo from P42 per kilo last year.

“The Department of Agriculture understands the predicaments of our farmers in Occidental Mindoro and we are now pooling more funds as grants to our partner coops so that they can procure more and also serve the non-members who are left behind and have also clamored for support,” Gerundio said.

“We are also establishing a buying station of onions in our station in Murtha, San Jose, and sending a post-harvest consultant to oversee the conversion of our station as onion storage,” The DA regional chief added.

Two units of cold storage facilities worth P125 million each will be constructed in Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro and San Jose under the enterprise development component of the Philippine Rural Development Project.

The facilities have a combined capacity of 100,000 bags or 2,800 metric tons and are expected to be operational in the 2022-2023 onion cropping season.