The Department of Agriculture (DA) is preparing to issue an order to import white onions in May as it rushes to prevent another price shock similar to what the country experienced in 2022.
Asked about the importation of onions, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez said, “Within this month we have to.”
Estoperez said the order would be released in May, adding that the agency was finalizing the details such as how much volume needed to be imported.
He also said that the DA was also looking at setting a suggested retail price by Monday, May 22, for onions.
“Now, we have to check also kung fair price rin ang kinukuha ng consumers kasi pagdating naman ng August or September kung wala na tayo supply or inventory then kailangan na natin mag-import pero kung may ani naman ang ating magsasaka considered naman yun sa ating equation,” Estoperez said.
Data from the DA’s price monitoring shows local red and white onions are sold from P160 to P200 per kilo.
He said the preliminary figure for importation was estimated at 8,800 metric tons (MT) which could cover two months' worth of consumption.
The DA early this week floated the possibility of importing onions.
According to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) on Saturday, the supply of red onions in the country was enough to last until November, while that of white onions could last until September.
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. As for red onions, the group said the importation could be done at a later time.
Estoperez said that the DA did not want to see a repeat of the situation in December 2022, when “ang presyo umabot ng P600 to P700 [per kilo.”
Estoperez said the white onions to be imported will be primarily allocated for institutional buyers. —NB, GMA Integrated News