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SINAG urges government to import white onions by July

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Sunday called on the government to import white onions by July to avert a possible shortage, and price increases.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, SINAG chairperson Rosendo So said that considering the recent harvest of onions, the Department of Agriculture (DA) should no longer wait for projections before importing onions.

He said that farmers from Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija have finished harvesting onions, and only a few left from Mindoro have yet to be reaped. Most of the stocks were already placed in cold storage facilities, he added.

“Sa tingin namin, mga July dapat pumasok na 'yung puting sibuyas para hindi naman maulit ito. Dapat preparado tayo… Kasi ang puting sibuyas, mga three months lang ang cold storage eh. So by June, dapat naka-prepare na tayo na may pumasok by July,” he said.

(We think that white onions should arrive in the country around July. We should be prepared because white onions could only be placed in cold storage for only about three months. So by June, we must hould be prepared and imported stocks should be in by July.)

Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) spokesperson Jose Diego Roxas said on Saturday that the supply of white onions in the country can last until September, while that of red onions until November.

If needed, he said, onions may be imported to augment supply to ensure prices will remain stable.

"Kung mag-i-import man po, ito ay augmentative lang. Ibig sabihin po, pandagdag lang po sa kakulangan. Ang objective lang po naman ng importation ay para po mag-stabilize 'yung presyo, pati na rin po 'yung supply. Sisiguraduhin po namin na hindi naman po makokompromiso 'yung kita ng ating mga magsasaka,"Roxas said.

On the other hand, So said that as to red onions, importation could be done at a later time. He believes that only stocks of white onions will be replenished by July.

Based on the latest price monitoring of the DA, local white and red onions cost P150 to P200 per kilo in select markets in Metro Manila.

However, the DA said there is no data available as to the price of imported medium-sized white and red onions as they are not currently sold in markets. —LBG, GMA Integrated News