Only 1,900 MT of imported onions arrive

In this file photo Vendors stack red onions at the Balintawak Public Market in Quezon City on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

(UPDATE) ONLY 1,900 metric tons (MT) of the authorized 5,000 MT of imported onions have arrived as the Department of Agriculture's (DA) deadline for the importations passed on Friday.

“So far, approximately 1,900 MT [of imported onions] arrived, 1,000 metric tons are on the market and 900 MT are still for inspection,” Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Section Officer in Charge Jose Diego Roxas told The Manila Times on Friday.

The BPI expects to release the 900 MT onions under inspection on Friday or next week, Roxas said.

The DA will ban the importation of onions after January 27 “and we will be strict on that,” he added.

The government allowed a limited number of onions to be brought in an effort to pull down the soaring prices of the bulbs.

As of Friday, retail prices of imported white onions ranged between P250 and P300 per kilo and imported red onions, between P200 and P250 per kilo.

Local white onions are priced between P170 and P300 per kilo and local red onions, between P240 and P350 per kilo.

Roxas said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will preside over a meeting with agriculture officials and stakeholders on Monday to discuss if 1,900 MT of imported onions is enough to bring down retail prices.

“President Marcos wants an update on the current supply and prices of onions. Expected to attend the meeting are stakeholders, including the farmers, traders, importers, and institutional buyers,” Roxas said.

Agriculture deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez has assured consumers that the government can bring down the per-kilo prices of onions to between P100 and P120.

Estoperez said the suggested retail price (SRP) for onions is expected to be finalized during the meeting.

“We will again meet with the stakeholders as the Price Act provides that before a price cap can be implemented, there should be consultation with the industry players,” he said.

Estoperez said the P100 to P120 retail price will be acceptable to the public.

Estoperez visit onion farms in Mindoro Occidental last Wednesday.

He said onion farmers in the province will start their harvest in the second week of February.

The harvest from the province will further boost the supply of onions in the country, Estoperez said.

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