By Azer Parrocha
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he wants the government to provide more cold chain facilities for onion farmers to help prolong the shelf life of their products.
Marcos raised the issue of the lack of cold chain facilities following a sectoral meeting at Malacañan Palace, stressing that this problem continues to affect onion supply and prices in the country.
“We need more cold storage, we need a better, stronger cold chain para ma-maintain naman natin, ma-preserve naman natin ‘yung (so we can maintain and preserve the) agricultural products,” Marcos said in a video message sent to reporters.
“‘Yun ang mga ginawa namin para [sa] mga immediate needs doon sa ating mga nagtataasan na presyo ng agricultural products (That’s what we’re doing to address the immediate needs brought about by the increasing prices of agriculture products),” he added.
Meanwhile, Marcos also assured that his administration is carrying out a program that aims to help onion farmers increase their yield to stabilize the supply and bring down the commodity’s price.
“We’ll do this by increasing the area that is being planted to onions, number one,” he said.
“And secondly…the DA [Department of Agriculture] will help by providing inputs. So the first part of that is we are going to the seed producers so that they will produce good seed that we can give to the farmers at some point. Iyon ang kanilang gamitin as (They will use these for their) inputs. And all that what they need,” he added.
To date, the DA has deferred the extension of the PHP250 suggested retail price (SRP) due to the impending lower price range of onions following the harvest season.
Onion prices may decrease to PHP100 from PHP150 per kilo with the entry of more than 5,000 metric tons (MT) of imported onions, according to the DA.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that onion production in the third quarter of last year was recorded at 23.30 MT, 1.7 percent higher than the 22.92 MT output in the same quarter of 2021.
The DA’s 2022 supply and demand outlook data indicated that the country has a 120 percent sufficiency level with 312,830 MT of onions. Per capita consumption for onion is at 2.341 kg/year per the PSA, with an estimated demand of 21,000 MT per month.
As of Dec. 15, 2022, the total stock inventory of locally produced red onions in cold storage nationwide is 2,209.45 MT. There were no stocks of white onions and imported red onions in cold storage facilities.
To provide more affordable onions, Kadiwa stores offered native red and white onions for PHP170 a kilo, with each customer being allowed to buy a maximum of three kilos.
The DA earlier this month announced the importation of about 22,000 MT of onions to address high prices and supply shortages. (PNA)