Filipino Farmers Demand Ban On Onion Importation

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News in brief: Filipino onion farmers are urging the government to temporarily ban onion imports due to an excess of domestic stock, resulting in discounted prices and decreased sales.

Onion farmers in the Philippines have appealed to government authorities to prohibit the importation of onions into the country because of excess domestic stock.

The farmers presented their case to the country’s Department of Agriculture’s main office in Quezon City, according to a news outlet.

They disclosed that more than 3 million bags of onions were still in stock ready to be sold in the market. However, they can’t make any profit as they are forced to offer discounted prices to combat preference for smaller imported onions.

They claim to be helpless as they watch decreasing sales of local produce in the country. Thus, they are urging the agriculture department to stop the entry of imported onions, at least until the end of November 2023. They said the onion imports ban should be in place until all the existing domestic supplies have been used up.

The farmers stated that importing onions is of no benefit to them as they still need government’s support to thrive. They also lamented the high cost of storage, which the report says costs between ₱75 ($1.31 USD) and ₱110 (1.92 USD) per kilogramme.

The department is expected to monitor the situation and strike a balance between stabilising supply and keeping retail prices in check. However, it is yet to issue an official statement on the matter after the farmers’ request.

Onion is a staple in Filipino cuisine, being used as a base in many dishes and the people consume an average of 17,000 metric tons (mt) per month.

In late 2022, the price of red and white onions in the Philippines increased significantly, reaching an all-time high of ₱700 ($12.27 USD) per kilogram in December. The onion crisis had encouraged the smuggling of the commodity into the country.

In January 2023, President Bongbong Marcos, who also serves concurrently as Secretary of Agriculture, approved the importation of 21,060 tons of onion. Hence, the excess supply of imported onion at the detriment of locally grown produce.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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