Import plan may help bring down onion prices: DA

Import plan may help bring down onion prices: DA

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Monday prices of onions may drop to around PHP100 per kilogram once an importation plan has been approved.

In an interview, DA Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez said the importation consideration is a response to inflation, with red onion prices still ranging from PHP480 to PHP600 per kilogram in Metro Manila.

Asked if retail prices would drop to PHP200 or PHP150, Estoperez said a lower cost may be expected.

“It should be lower than that, we don’t have the figure yet but we agreed na mayroong basehan, na i-base natin dun sa dati… Kasi (that there would be a basis, we will base it on the previous [prices]… Because) when I looked at our cost of production, it’s also low,” he said.

However, he said price ranges are also affected by the damage cost, input price hikes, fertilizers, pesticides and manpower.

Estoperez said the government should execute careful intervention and strict border measures for importation to protect both consumers and farmers.

“The arrivals of imported onions would be on a staggered basis, so what’s important is, it should not come beyond the first week of February, it should be the last week of January, maybe the maximum is the first week of February, because (in) February, harvest is already ongoing,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

“(The) number one challenge diyan is a strict border control, dapat walang mag-spillover kasi magha-harvest na (there should be no spillover since harvest is coming),” he added.

The DA might also come up with a decision this week, following the expiration of the PHP250 set suggested retail price on Jan. 7.

“We will wait until this week kung ma-approve ‘yun (if that will be approved), and then we’ll implement it immediately. Sabihin na nating (Let’s say) the peak season will start on March, March, April, May, ingat tayo dun sa (let’s be careful on the) importation, so the must-arrive should be strictly implemented,” he said.

The DA earlier said it projects 19,000 metric tons of onion harvest, which is expected to help lower market prices.

However, it recommended importing 22,000 metric tons to help stabilize the cost of onions, with 50 percent allocation for Metro Manila, and 25 percent each for Visayas and Mindanao. (PNA)

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