DESPITE the soaring prices of onions, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that the agency was not considering the importation of onions to beef up supply.
“Right now, we are not considering the import of onions, especially this onion commodity,” DA deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez said in Filipino during the Malacañang’s Laging Handa public briefing.
“And we look at where we are lacking even though we know there are imperfections in our system.”
An additional supply of onion in the market, according to government critics, is needed to bring down prices.
Impact of Typhoon to onion production
He also said that the onion harvest season is anticipated to begin within the next few months; however, due to the recent typhoons that affected the country, there has yet to be an estimate of the volume that will be produced.
When asked about the plan of the agency to address the soaring prices of onions, Estopaez said, “intervention and climate change resiliency” will help balance and address the issue.
“What we are doing right now is to make a resilient approach to climate change so that we can address this problem in our production,” said Estopaez.
Given the high cost of production, Estoperez said that it would be difficult to prescribe prices of the commodity and that strictly imposing the suggested retail price would impede farmers from selling their produce.
The agriculture official likewise said they would work on the needs of farmers, including logistical support, transportation [for the commodity], cold storage, and even packaging.
Last month, the DA said the government was considering the importation of 7,000 metric tons of red onions to put a halt on the surging prices of the commodity, but earlier, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban announced that the department would not import onions for the rest of the year since farmers would start harvesting in January and February.
But in order to stabilize onion prices, he said, the DA was using the Kadiwa program.
The Kadiwa program establishes a direct and efficient farm-to-consumer food supply chain, allowing the public to purchase products at lower costs.