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21,000 MT imported onions to arrive by yearend

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
21,000 MT imported onions to arrive by yearend
“This intervention of the government is to guarantee an ample supply amidst the increasing demand by the forthcoming holiday season and to ensure the public that last year’s scenario on the absurd increase in price would not be repeated,” the DA-BPI said.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Some 21,000 metric tons of imported onions should arrive on or before Dec. 31, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) said on Friday amid the spike in the retail price of the bulbs that has reached as high as P220 per kilo.

In a statement yesterday, the BPI said it would be issuing sanitary and phytosanitary clearance for the importation of onions.

“This intervention of the government is to guarantee an ample supply amidst the increasing demand by the forthcoming holiday season and to ensure the public that last year’s scenario on the absurd increase in price would not be repeated,” the DA-BPI said.

It added that the volume to be imported is composed of 17,000 MT of fresh red onions and 4,000 MT of fresh yellow onions.

“These volumes are based on the per capita consumption of the country and will serve as buffer to stabilize prices in the market prior to peak harvest of local produce on March-April 2024,” the DA said.

The DA-BPI said the importations will be sourced from China, India and the Netherlands.

“All imported fresh onions are required to arrive in the country on or before Dec. 31, 2023 to guarantee our local producers that it will not coincide with the upcoming harvest,” agency said.

It emphasized that extension of the must-arrive date will still be subject to change, depending on the available stocks and prices in the market.

According to the BPI, the importation of the bulbs was allowed to prevent a similar incident after the retail price of onions skyrocketed to P720 per kilo in December 2022.

The DA implemented a P250 per kilo SRP, but the price of onions went up amid the shortage in supply.?

Based on monitoring of the DA on Friday, local red onion was sold for as high as P220 per kilo; local and imported white onions, P160 per kilo.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement yesterday, the DA announced that it has broken ground on four units of large rice dryers in Dingras, Ilocos Norte, the first of more than two dozen post-harvest facilities that the National Food Authority (NFA) plans to build to enhance its procurement capability, increase rice yield and boost rice and corn storage capacity.

A project under the DA’s Masagana Agri-Food Infrastructure Program, the Dingras facility consists of four 30-metric ton batch recirculating mechanical dryers.

It is part of the first phase of NFA’s post-harvest facility modernization program.

The NFA said the multi-phase program aims to build dozens of rice processing centers composed of high-capacity industrial grade mechanical dryers, grain silos and rice mills across the country. These centers will have the combined capacity to store rice and corn enough to cover national requirements for 30 days. 

The project will cost P130 million and will take 10 months to build, just in time for the main rice harvest next year, the NFA said. — Catherine Talavera

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