DA unit not inclined to issue onion import permits
(The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) is not inclined to issue permits for onion importation anytime soon, citing sufficient stocks, an official said yesterday.

Onion farmers, particularly those in Nueva Ecija, have been complaining of falling prices of locally-grown onions due to the influx of smuggled onions.

“I think there is sufficient supply so I don’t see a need for importation for now,” said BPI Director Clarito Barron.

Barron said the National Onion Action Team (NOAT), which is composed of stakeholders from the government and private sector, would continue to assess the onion supply and price situation in the country.

He said that so far, the NOAT has not recommended the importation of onions.

Data from the Department of Agriculture showed that the last importation of 9,100 metric tons (MT) of yellow onions was allowed last August and September, 2012. Of the total, only 7,479 MT arrived as of Nov. 29, 2012.

Around 8,500 MT of red onions, meanwhile, were allowed to enter the country for the months of September to December 2012. Of this volume, only 7,254.4 MT have arrived to date.

Barron said onion supply in the country falls short of requirement between the months of September to October when demand is high because of the coming holiday season.

He said the BPI would continue to coordinate with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to apprehend smuggled onions.

Last year, a total of 32 40-footer container vans of smuggled onions weighing 25,000 MT were seized by the BOC and BPI-Plant Quarantine Service. The confiscated smuggled onions were eventually disposed for condemnation.

Onion production in 2012 reached 124,830 metric tons, valued at P3.88 billion at current prices, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). This volume is 2.8 percent less than the 2011 production level of 128,400 MT.

In 2010, onion harvest totaled 135,380 MT.

The monthly domestic requirement of onions is currently placed 8,000 MT.

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER BARRON BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS BUREAU OF CUSTOMS BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR CLARITO BARRON NATIONAL ONION ACTION TEAM NUEVA ECIJA ONION ONIONS
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