A group of onion farmers has asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to put off any issuance of import permit for onion so as not to detriment the December local harvest that is now reaching the market by around 10,000 bags.
In a statement released here over the weekend, the Sibuyas ng Pilipinas Ating Alagaan (SIPAG) said it has just submitted a data with DA showing a stable inventory of 500,000 bags of 25 kilos each of onion nationally which is enough to supply the 350,000 bags of the country’s monthly consumption.
Ilocos farmers have a separate production of an estimated 10,000 bags for red shallots in December consisting of 4,000 bags from the north and 6,000 from the south, it said.
“DA Secretary Proceso Alcala has been very supportive of our farmers. We understand that he has to hear others who want an import permit now. But we will be making farmers sacrifice for us if imports are allowed now,” Francisco Collado, SIPAG president, said in the statement.
While government may be concerned about sufficiency of supply during the holiday season, SIPAG said price of onion has been relatively stable at P45 to P50 per kilo at farm gate for small onions and P55 to P60 per kilo for medium to big onions.
“Even if price becomes a little higher, our money just goes around the economy, from a farmer’s hand to another. But if we will just allow imports deliberately, it will be Chinese farmers that will benefit from it. That will not benefit our economy at all,” Collado said.
And even after Ilocos farmers will have been done with harvest by end-December, Collado said onion farmers in Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija will start harvesting by January.
“We would not have a shortage because before the older inventory from Ilocos runs out, harvests in other areas of the country are already approaching,” he said.
Collado said SIPAG takes the position that government should not at all allow anymore importation of onion in order to help this industry survive.