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DA halts onion imports as oversupply drives prices down

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
DA halts onion imports as oversupply drives prices down
This photo shows a market vendor at Balintawak Market standing in-front piles of onions while he sorts out fresh and spoiled produce.
Ian Laqui / Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday ordered the suspension of onion imports until May, citing abundant supply of onions in the country.

In a press release, the import halt is said to “protect domestic farmers” as the supply glut in the country pushed down onion prices over the past year.

The agriculture department attributed the onion supply pile-up to “shipment delays” which resulted in the arrival of 99 tons of onion imported in December between January 1 and 15.

According to the data of the agriculture department, the farm gate prices of onions were pushed down between P50 to P70 per kilo.

In some areas in Luzon, meanwhile, the prices plummeted to P20 per kilo where a huge percentage of local onion production is sourced.

Onion prices are expected to further cool in February as additional harvests are anticipated.

However, according to Agriculture Secretary Francisco Laurel, the import suspension will be lifted once the onion supply experiences a “supply shortfall” due to possible impacts of El Niño.

“In principle, I agree with no onion importation until July. But that is on condition that if there is a sudden supply shortfall, we will have to import earlier,” Laurel said. 

“Hindi po natin alam ang mangyayari dahil may El Niño (We don't know what will happen because there's El Niño),” he added.

On Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that a “strong” dry spell will be felt by the country until February 2024. 

Experts from the Department of Science and Technology warned that the upcoming dry spell can be likened to the 1997 to 1998 El Niño, which caused billions of pesos in agricultural damage.

Government economic agencies last year also warned that the dry spell may threaten the country’s food supply.

In December 2022, onion prices skyrocketed to a staggering record high of P720 due to a severe supply shortage.


 

vuukle comment

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

DROUGHT

EL NIñO

FOOD SUPPLY

ONIONS

SUPPLY

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