Have a good cry


Jullie Y. Daza

In onion there is strength.

It was a good ploy of President-Secretary of Agriculture Marcos to import onions when the local supply was going at ₱600 to ₱700 a kilo, a matter of supply and demand. Now, with the arrival of imported onions and their being pitted against our own, the market is behaving as it should. Let the smugglers and greedy manipulators cry over their onions.

Consumers have a choice, and they’re buying local even when locally grown onions are more expensive, ₱260/kg compared with ₱140/kg of the imported variety. Hoarders won’t be wallowing in profits as largescale as before. They can try bringing in more onions – a smuggling attempt was nipped, all ₱20 million worth, in Zamboanga two days ago.

Cook never had any doubt that she would stick to “lokal na sibuyas” because our homegrown produce are more pungent, yet sweeter. Do onions at any price make you cry or tear up? Marketgoers don’t like the big ones – some as big as apples – for another reason, and that’s because the small ones are easier to chop and slice. Same with garlic, Philippine-grown ones have a sharper bite. Let’s hope garlic won’t be going the “short” way of sugar, salt, chicken, and eggs.

It’s not funny how shortages keep breathing down our necks. An impending power shortage, a “seasonal” water shortage in summer even as several towns are still desperately trying to rebuild their homes and farms after a long spell of rain and floods – all on top of an onion shortage while onions were rotting in Occidental Mindoro due to bad weather, pests, and the lack of cold storage facilities. In Metro Manila, Kadiwa stores are popping up everywhere but your neighborhood.

Not to be a killjoy, but we’re importing basketball players, too, aren’t we, as if to verticalize the quality of our game. We had a very tall player, Kai Sotto at 7’ 2”, but we had to lose him to Australia. The bad news is that many of the 1.7 million babies expected this year will be born smaller, shorter, lighter.
And should we be surprised that there might not be a next generation of farmers, the way we keep branding them as poor and “kawawa” (pitiful)?