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Gov’t to import 22,000-MT of onions to stabilize prices

The Department of Agriculture on Saturday said it will now have to resort to importing at least 22,000 metric tons of onions to end the surge in prices, fetching for as high as more than P600 per kilo in some public markets.

Based DA’s recommendation, 25 percent of the imported onions would be brought to Mindanao, 25 percent to Visayas, and 50 percent to Luzon. Of the 50 percent allocated for Luzon, 10 percent will be white onions.

“We will put a stop to this through importation… That may not sound good, but we have to do this,” DA deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez said in a radio interview.

Gov’t…Estoperez said the 22,000 metric tons must arrive before the peak harvest in March.

“The imported onions must arrive by the last week of January or first week of February for us to bring down the price of onions,” he added.

The Agriculture official said they have to balance consumer demand with the welfare of farmers.

“Based on the situation in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, they have standing crops that will peak in February and March,” Estoperez said.

He said the imposition of a P250 per kilo suggested retail price did little to bring down the price of red onion.

“If the farm gate price is already at P350 to P420, the price at public markets will still be high [despite the SRP],” he said.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has secured business agreements with China to lower the prices of fertilizer, a vital part of his administration’s bid to help farmers and ensure food security.

During a recent roundtable discussion with chief executive officers (CEOs) from the agribusiness sector in Beijing, the President expressed appreciation to two Chinese fertilizer manufacturing companies that have signed a cooperation agreement with the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) to ensure sustainable supply of the much-needed fertilizers at reasonable prices.

“We look forward to a steady supply of fertilizer inputs needed by our farmers through these agreements,” President Marcos said.

The President said the cost of agricultural inputs, especially fertilizers, has “become prohibitive and unaffordable for our local farmers.”

“Providing sustainable and affordable supply of inputs such as fertilizers and seedlings has become more difficult, given global economic challenges, as we have all seen in the supply chain problems that we have encountered,” he said.

One of the strategies to address this is to establish cooperative agreements with suppliers so the government can buy these inputs in bulk and to be able to sell them to farmers at a lower price, Mr. Marcos said.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilastandard.net

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