Quimbo prods House to look into alleged onion 'cartel'

Is there a "cartel" in the local onion industry?

Onions in a Quezon City supermarket, and Marikina City 2nd district Rep. Stella Quimbo (Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

This is the question Marikina City 2nd district Rep. Stella Quimbo wants answered in House Resolution (HR) No. 681, which she filed amid the runaway prices of onions.

The measure instructs the House Committees on Economic Affairs and on Trade and Industry to carry out an investigation in aid of legislation on the alleged existence of a cartel and anti-competitiveness practices in the onion industry.

Quimbo, a senior vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, said a cartel could be the reason why the cost of onions skyrocketed during the past few months.

The economist-solon noted that based on figures from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the price range for a kilo of red onions in Metro Manila is P280 to 600, while a kilo of white onions is sold at P400 to P600.





On the high end, these prices are nearly double the price of a kilo of pork.

In economics, a cartel is a formal agreement among firms in an oligopolistic industry. Cartel members may agree on a range of matters, including prices of their products.

According to Quimbo, the possibility of an onion cartel and the hoarding of the produce was raised as early as August 2022.

Quimbo also urged the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to step up and act against those involved in hoarding, smuggling, and cartels in the country.

She said this will serve as a proactive and long-term solution to the high prices of basic commodities.