THE retail price of onions plunged on Monday to a low of P200 per kilogram as imported supplies started to enter the country.
Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Glenn Panganiban said the first batches of onion imports arrived late last Friday.
Panganiban told reporters that about 400 metric tons (MT) of yellow onions and 800 MT of red onions are now in the local cold storages and are awaiting second border clearance by the BPI.
Panganiban said they expect the imported onions to be sold in the local markets within the week.
The BPI earlier opened its 21,060-MT onion importation program, but only about 5,000 MT were issued sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) as importers showed weak appetite for the import program due to various factors.
The latest price monitoring report by the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed that prevailing retail prices of local red onions in Metro Manila markets have subsided to P200 to P350 per kilogram, from what used to be P700 per kilogram on the average.
However, DA reports also showed that local white onions are fetching P200 to P350 per kilogram while prices of imported white onions are ranging from P220 to P300 per kilogram.
The price of onions has been declining since the national government announced its onion importation program.
Panganiban reiterated that they do not expect the whole 5,000 MT approved imports to arrive in the country, which is a usual pattern in previous importation programs of the government.
Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez said the imported stocks would not be concentrated on Metro Manila alone since they would be divided among consumers nationwide.
“We have ports designated in Visayas and Mindanao. Our [red onion] imports will be distributed and allocated to Visayas and Mindanao except for the yellow onions,” he told reporters in an interview on Monday.
Estoperez added that they will be finalizing the price cap on imported onions within the week.
“The price of the imported onions should not go below the cost of production of local onions or else farmers will be losing,” he said.
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