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Govt to import onions

The Manila Times logo The Manila Times 09/08/2022 Bella Cariaso

The cost of white onions that has gone through the roof. Photo by John Ryan Baldemor © Provided by The Manila Times The cost of white onions that has gone through the roof. Photo by John Ryan Baldemor

A DAY after the retail price of white onions hit P400 a kilo, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the bulbs are no longer available in public or wet markets in Metro Manila.

Based on the daily market watch of the agency, there is no supply of white onions at Mega Q Mart, Muñoz Market and Commonwealth Market in Quezon City; Pritil Market and Quinta Market in Manila; Marikina Public Market in Marikina City; Pasay City Market in Pasay City; Guadalupe Market in Makati City; Pasig City Mega Market in Pasig City; Muntinlupa Public Market in Muntinlupa City; and Malabon Central Market in Malabon City.

On Monday, the retail price of white onions reached P400 a kilo at Pritil Market.

On the other hand, the retail prices of red onions range from P110 to P150 per kilo in various markets in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila).

Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said the government is eyeing the importation of both red onions and white onions to address the shortage.

"Based on the reports we are receiving, imported white onions are still being sold in some markets but white onions are no longer available in many markets. We also received reports that many restaurants are complaining about the unavailability of white onions, so all of these will be part of our consultation this Wednesday," Evangelista said.

She added that producers, traders and retailers will be invited to attend the consultative meeting on Wednesday, August 10.

During the scheduled consultation, Evangelista said the DA expects to issue suggested retail prices (SRPs) for red onions and white onions.

"The shortage in the supply is causing the spike in the prices of agricultural commodities," Evangelista explained.

She said the DA will take into consideration the local harvest season for red onions.

"We will make sure that the importation of onions will not affect the harvest of our local farmers," Evangelista added.

On Monday, white onions were sold at P70 per piece in the wet markets where they are still available.

Last July 2022, the retail price for white onions was pegged at only P200 a kilo.

The retail price of red onions also increased by at least P50 a kilo from P110 to P150 a kilo also last July.

Evangelista said those affected by the shortage in white onions are the institutional buyers like restaurants, hotels and manufacturers.

Aside from the white onions and red onions, the DA is expected to announce on Wednesday the SRP on sugar as retail prices hit P115 to P120 a kilo.

The retail price of sugar has doubled compared to the prevailing price a year ago of P52 a kilo.

The government hopes to bring down the price of sugar in the market with the importation of at least 300,000 metric tons (MT).

The country's sugar production is estimated at 1.8 million MT while demand for the past three crop years has been around 2.03 million MT.

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