DA moving to prevent decline in onion farmgate price

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
DA moving to prevent decline in onion farmgate price
Farmers pack thousands of newly harvested onions at an onion farm in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija on March 10, 2023.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Efforts are now being done to prevent the further decline in the farmgate price of onions as farmers are forced to sell their produce at about P20 per kilo, Department of Agriculture (DA) spokesman Arnel De Mesa said.

“The peak harvest of onions will be March, April. We saw that the farmgate price is now more than P20 per kilo and the fear is it will further go down,” De Mesa said.

Farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) executive director Jayson Cainglet has blamed the proliferation of smuggled and imported onions online for the slump in the farmgate price of the local bulbs.

“We are conducting the necessary actions. The Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI), the High Value Crops Development Program and Agribusiness and Marketing Service are involved in marketing linkages to our Kadiwa (stores) and hopefully in other trading posts in Southern Tagalog and other areas,” Cainglet added.

He noted that the production areas for onions increased by 40 percent as more farmers planted bulbs.

“Here in Central Luzon, particularly in Nueva Ecija, the total hectarage planted to onions reached 11,000 hectares. Farmers were encouraged to plant onions because of good prices last year,” De Mesa said.

Cainglet said the farmgate price of the local red onions further dropped to P28 per kilo on Monday after SINAG reported on Friday that the farmgate price decreased to P29 per kilo.

He added that onion farmers were forced to rent storage space to place their produce in view of the depressed farmgate price.

“How can the local farmers compete with the smuggled and imported onions sold for as low as P25 per kilo on Facebook,” Cainglet said.

He criticized BPI for its failure to act on the matter.

The BPI has allowed the importation of 21,000 metric tons of onions where at least 99 MT of imported bulbs entered the country between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15 despite the Dec. 31, 2023 deadline.

On the other hand, the retail price in Metro Manila markets remains high despite the slump in the farmgate price of onions.

Based on the monitoring of the DA, the retail price of local red onions ranged between P90 and P120 per kilo; local white onions, between P60 and P130 per kilo; imported red onions, between P90 and P100 per kilo and imported white onions P80 and P120 per kilo.

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