The first batch of the more than 21,000 metric tons of onions that the national government gave go-signal to be imported has arrived in the country, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
In a “Laging Handa” briefing, BPI Information Section officer-in-charge Jose Diego Roxas said the 588 metric tons of onions-- 218 MT of yellow onions and 370 MT of red onions-- are now stored at cold storage facilities.
“Sumasalang sa second border inspection . So, ‘yung proseso pong ito, ini-inspect natin ‘yung dumating na containers, sinisiguro po natin na ang nilalaman po noon ay kung ano po ang idineklara (They are now undergoing second border inspection. So, this process is to ensure that the containers that arrived in the country are really onion, as declared by exporters),” he said.
Roxas said they are expecting for the imported onions to be available in markets this week.
Meanwhile, he said the other imported onions must arrive by Jan. 27 as the BPI will strictly impose a must-arrive deadline or else onions that will arrive late will be sent back to its point of origin.
“Tayo po ay mahigpit na magpapatupad ng must-arrive date na Jan. 27 para naman po maging patas tayo at hindi po bahain nang sobra-sobra ang mercado ng sibuyas (We will strictly implement must-arrive date which is Jan. 27 in order to be fair and for our local market not to get flooded with surplus onions),” he stressed.
“At ‘yung importers ng mga sibuyas na hindi nakaabot ay may karampatang penalty ayon na rin sa guidelines na ipinasa ukol sa importation (And importers of onions who fail to meet the deadline will be slapped with penalties in accordance with the importation guidelines).”
The country is still expecting to receive 4,412 MT of imported yellow and red onions before the deadline set by the agriculture department.
To recall, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has approved importation of more than 21,000 MT of onions in a bid to address the supply gap and lower the skyrocketing price of onions in the country.
Roxas explained that although 21,000 MT was allowed by the government to be imported, only 5,000 MT was actually applied for the emergency onion import of the Philippines.