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DA-11 eyes increase in onion production in Davao del Sur

Department of Agriculture - onions

DAVAO CITY—Onion production would be increased in Davao del Sur after the regional Department of Agriculture (DA) launched an onion-planting project in the province.

Abel Monteagudo, DA Region 11 director, said he wants to confront the problem of high onion prices head on by continuing an onion
production project in Davao del Sur.

“My predecessor regional director of DA-11 started it in Davao del Sur, so I’d like to follow it up with a much, much bigger dreams with
a bigger area,” Monteagudo said.

He said Davao del Sur has two advantages for onion production: warmer climate and abundant sunlight.

“We found out through our seed production in palay that the sun is brighter and the day is longer in Davao del Sur,” Monteagudo said.

He said onion needs sunlight and lesser rainfall, adding onion cultivation failed to prosper in his previous assignment in the Caraga Region,
which has a wetter climate.

Monteagudo said there are already onion farmers in Davao del Sur and they must be supported and given intervention so they can produce more onion.

Currently the DA High Value Crop Program has supported a group of onion farmers in Barangay Asinan, Matanao.

“Coming from the office of the regional director I expect better production of sibuyas [onion] by next year. Climate is the only enemy,” he said.

He said the DA was also looking at an onion production area nearer the market or to transportation infrastructure.

Freeze onion importation plan

Meanwhile, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reiterated its call to the Marcos administration to reconsider its decision to import onions, saying the move would not address the problem brought about by the runaway prices of the cooking ingredient.

“DA importing onions in the middle of the harvest season proves the agency’s epic failure to address the food inflation,” KMP chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano said in a news release.

A former party-list lawmaker and Cabinet member under the Duterte administration, Mariano said further importation would hurt only farmers and consumers.

Importers were given until January 27 to ship to the country some 17,100 metric tons (MT) of red onions and 3,960 MT of yellow onions by the DA.

The farmer-leader once held the position as secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform of the previous administration.

“Importing in the middle of the harvest season is the height of callousness and inutility. Walang suplay shortage sa sibuyas. Hindi importasyon ang solusyon at lalong hindi awtomatikong bababa ang presyo ng sibuyas sa mga palengke pagdating ng imports. Ang mga importer, trader at smugglers lang ang makikinabang sa desisyon ng DA na mag-import,” Mariano said.

Davao pork restriction

Meanwhile, with regard to the increasing Monteagudo has also asked pork producers and traders to observe the restrictions on bringing pork products to Davao City.

He cited an incident at an airport here where authorities accosted travelers bringing popped pork rind or chicharon with them.

“I traveled from Iloilo to Cebu, Cebu to Davao a few days ago. There was a commotion at the airport when we boarded the plane because there
was somebody trying to go home to Davao bringing along chicharon from Cebu,” Monteagudo recalled.

He said the passengers resisted suggestions to surrender their bagful of chicharon coming from Cebu.

“The airport authorities in Cebu were kind enough to tell them they can bring chicharon but these will be confiscated in Davao,” Monteagudo said.

He urged the public to tell their friends and relatives not to bring pork products from other regions to Davao.

“We are in the pink zone in the battle against ASF [African swine fever]. We are nearing green so don’t mess it up by bringing prohibited goods from outside,” he said.

A pink zone means a buffer area where ASF is not present but is adjacent to an ASF contaminated area or red zone.

Monteagudo said there were areas, which were once red zones in the region that were now free from ASF.

The DA-11 launched the Integrated
National Swine Production Initiative for Recovery and Expansion or INSPIRE to assist in the recovery of the hog industry. Forty-four hog
farmer associations in the region have received assistance from INSPIRE.

The DA has allocated P300 million for the program in the region.

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