Agriculture Secretary William Dar recently met with New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan.
New Zealand mulls onion exports to Philippines
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will prioritize its local onion farmers as it demands balanced trade from New Zealand after the latter expressed interest in bringing in the commodity.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar recently met with New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan.

“While we are in a liberalized regime, we want to see balance in trade.  We don’t want to bring in imported onions if we have enough produce from our local farmers,” Dar said.

“We understand our role under a world trade regime but we also need to consider the interest of our local farmers.  We want them to be competitive, productive and prosperous at the end of the day,” he said.

Onion is an important horticultural export of New Zealand, next to kiwi and apples.

Just last March, the Department of Agriculture suspended the importation of onions.   The Bureau of Plant Industry also stopped issuing import certificates since October last year.

While Dar recognized the assistance that New Zealand has been providing the Philippines particularly on the dairy industry, he said there are measures that need to be considered in such a way that the local onion industry will not suffer.

“Free trade is the name of the game but at the same time, we need to manage it well that while trying to elevate the game, we are not putting down our local farmers to the point that they can no longer resurrect,” Dar said.

Dar asked Strachan to help the country by sharing their technologies to enable local farmers to compete globally.

Last April, the country’s production of bulb onion increased by about 70 percent of the total national requirement, satisfying household consumption for the first time.

The increase in the local onion production is the result of the expansion of planted areas in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Mindoro, Iloilo and some parts of Mindanao where farmers are starting to plant in small areas.

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