Imported onion SRP set at P125/kilo

The suggested retail price (SRP) of imported onion has been pegged at P125 per kilo as landed cost is only at P14 a kilo.

On Friday, Feb. 3, the Department of Agriculture met with traders, importers and traders agreed to peg the suggested retail price of onion at P125 per kilo, according to Rosendo So, chairman of Sinag. The new SRP on onion is expected to take effect on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Meantime, the Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo revealed at the Laging Handa briefing that Malacanang has approved the initiatives proposed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to limit the participation of middle men in the onion trade.

Castelo said that data from the Bureau of Customs showed that landed cost of imported onions at P14 per kilo only. However, based on the DTI monitoring the lowest price of onion in just one market was at P180 per kilo. The highest prices in the market range from P300 to P350 per kilo. Puregold, she said, is selling local onion at P180 per kilo.

“We need to lower the retail price with the landed cost as base,” she pointed out.

Castelo that DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual has proposed the initiatives to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who approved the proposal. Castelo, however, said she cannot disclose the details of the initiatives, but suffice it to say that the aim is to limit the traders or middlemen in the onion trade with the help of the private sector to “reduce the supply chain in between farmer and retailer.”

Once the details have been ironed out, Castelo said, the DTI secretary will make some announcement.

During the meeting last Friday, Feb. 3, the Department of Agriculture and importers/traders agreed to set the SRP on imported onion to P125 per kilo. In December last year, the DA set the SRP on onion at P250 per kilo.

Castelo explained that the DA can issue its own SRP for agricultural products, separate from the DTI SRP bulletin that covers processed basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC), but the agency should ensure availability of these products otherwise the SRO becomes a “useless endeavor.”

As part of DTI’s contribution to ensuring food security in the country, Castelo said the DTI helps the DA in the monitoring of prices because while the agency has police powers it has no established enforcement bureau unlike the DTI.

The DTI can also issue LOI (Letter of Inquiry) to SRP violators to be forwarded to the DA for their handling and case filing. “DA will have to issue the Notice of Violation because it is their SRP. Our initiatives are parallel but not joint,” she explained.

For the DTI SRP Bulletin, Castelo said they have seen “justification” for the petition of manufacturers to raise prices of BNPCs. The DTI is also asking those that asked for higher price hikes to divide or implement the increase in tranches.

“We are looking final numbers, Secretary Pascual will announce,” she said. Until such time that a new SRP Bulletin is issued, Castelo warned retailers against any price adjustments.