Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) noted that the farmers’ onion produce could be kept in reefer vans and released to the market once prices have stabilized.
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DA sets aside P200 million for onion farmers
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is allocating P200 million for onion farmers’ associations to buy their members’ produce in a bid to protect them from price manipulation by traders as harvest season comes into full swing.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) noted that the farmers’ onion produce could be kept in reefer vans and released to the market once prices have stabilized.

“I have already ordered to source reefer vans which can be used as temporary storage facilities for the farmers’ onion production,” he said.

The DA recently suspended the importation of bulb onions pending an investigation into an alleged cartel manipulating the buying price of the commodity.

Piñol issued the directive pending the results of the investigation of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) amid closure of cold storage facilities by trading firms to force farmers to sell at low prices.

Prices of onion dropped from a high of P30 per kilogram before harvest to only about P15 per kilo.

Among the companies targeted for investigation for possible violation of Fair Competition and Economic Sabotage Act are Rivson Coop Storage Inc., Argo Cold Storage, Kapisanan ng Samahan ng mga Magsisibuyas sa Nueva Ecija (Kasamne) and Titan Onion Cold Storage, all in Nueva Ecija.

Under an arrangement agreed between farmer groups and importers, the importation of onions would only be done after the harvest of the produce.

The DA has ordered the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to support the arrangement by scheduling the processing of sanitary and phytosanitary permits until after the harvest season.

The BPI has reported that no SPS permits have been issued since October.

The moratorium on the issuance of SPS permits will be extended until such time the PCC and NBI have terminated their investigation.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ONION
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