SEN. Imee Marcos, Senate economic affairs committee chair, yesterday called on the Department of Agriculture to ensure the government’s plan to import 35,000 metric tons of red onions to make up for a supply shortage will not affect the local harvests in March.
Marcos warned that imported red onions may end up rotting in government warehouses without doing its purpose – bringing down the price of the farm produce.
She said a similar situation happened last year when the National Food Authority imported millions of pesos worth of rice but this failed to bring down market prices significantly.
Marcos added the importation of rice from other countries instead hurt the livelihood of many Filipino farmers.
“Imported red onions might flood the market which would leave local harvests in March rotting. Then what will happen? Local farmers will be forced to sell their produce at a much lower price just like what happened to the palay which was harvested by local farmers. This will send our local farmers to incur huge losses,” Marcos said.
The wholesale price of red onions in December averaged P195 per kilo, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
At groceries and supermarkets, red onions were being sold for P150 to P200 per kilo, while some public markets sell them as high as P260 per kilo.