PHL to import 16,500 MT of white onions

The government has allowed the importation of as much as 16,500 metric tons (MT) of white onions to plug the shortfall in local supply, according to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

BPI Plant Quarantine Services Assistant Division Chief Joselito L. Antioquia said the agency has released 330 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSIC) as of May 30, after confirming that there is a shortage of local white onions.

“We have released 330 SPSIC to address the shortage in supply. Each permit allows traders to bring in 50,000 kilograms [50 MT] of white onion,” Antioquia told the BusinessMirror.

Citing a report, he said the country’s current white onion inventory is good for only 15 days, in contrast to red onion supply, which could meet domestic demand for 93 days.

He said the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) consulted onion farmers and traders about the supply situation. The government and stakeholders then agreed to import white onions to stabilize supply and prices.

Antioquia, who also heads the BPI’s accreditation licensing, policy and coordination services, said traders have 20 days after the issuance of the permit to start shipping out the white onions from their point of origin.

“If the SPSIC was issued on June 1, the white onions should have already departed from its point of origin after two days. We also give two months shipping time for onions from China, and three months if it’s from the Netherlands,” he said.

Antioquia vowed to ensure that the importation of white onions will not affect local farmers.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s onion output for the first quarter of 2016 dropped by 37.97 percent to 75,540 MT from 121,770 MT recorded in the same period last year.

The PSA said Typhoons Lando and Nona damaged standing onion crops in Central Luzon in the last quarter of 2015. Onion farms in Nueva Ecija also had to deal with armyworm infestation in the first quarter of 2016.

Philippine white onion production is traditionally not enough to meet local demand, according to DA-Region 3 Director Andrew Villacorta.

Villacorta said the infestation of armyworms, which damaged as much as 20 percent of standing white onion crops in Nueva Ecija, aggravated the supply situation.

“Farmers were also forced to harvest early, as pesticides were not able to control the spread of the armyworms. So when you look at onions in the markets, you will observe that the onions are still quite small,” he said.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

DA vows to help farmers expand exports to Asean

Next Article

Bloomberry may start construction of Quezon City hotel, casino in 2017

Related Posts