MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is considering the release of the import order of onions this May to ensure the stability of market prices, DA Deputy Spokesperson Rex Estoperez said Friday.
In an interview, Estoperez said the DA needs to release the import order within the month to avoid a repeat of last year’s spike in onion prices which reached as high as PHP600 to PHP700 per kilogram.
“Sinabi na ng ating senior undersecretary [Domingo Panganiban], hindi na mauulit iyon, (Our senior undersecretary already said that it will not be happen again), and we’re trying to address it,” he said.
According to the DA’s latest price monitoring, prices of both local red and white onions range from PHP160 to PHP200 per kilo.
Estoperez, however, said the DA is still finalizing the volume needed to be imported.
He said there is a need to specify the target volume of white onions for institutional buyers to lessen the pressure on the red onion supply.
Meanwhile, the official said that while they are considering the setting of the suggested retail price (SRP) for onions, the supply inventory in cold storages must be released.
“We are considering all strategies to compel them to sell the onions in their cold storages. Kasi ito, pananamantala eh (because this is abusive),” Estoperez said.
Earlier, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) assured the public that there is still an adequate supply of red and white onions in the country.
According to the BPI, the supply of white onions may last until mid-July, while the red onions may last until November.
Other than “calibrated” importation and setting of suggested retail price (SRP), other strategies being explored include the proposed collaboration between the DA and the local government units’ local price coordinating councils, and the boosting of coordination with the Philippine Competition Commission to combat price manipulation among traders. (PNA)