THE Philippines will import 21,000 metric tons (MT) of red and yellow onions to augment its domestic supply and prevent a spike in retail prices amid rising demand for the commodity.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) will issue the necessary sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) to facilitate the entry of fresh onions starting this month.
The DA also emphasized they are undertaking the timely importation of fresh onion stocks to avert a “repeat” of what happened late last year until early this year when prices of the commodity skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.
“This intervention of the government is to guarantee an ample supply amidst the increasing demand by the forthcoming holiday season and to ensure the public that last year’s scenario of the absurd increase in price would not be repeated,” read a statement the DA issued recently.
According to the agriculture department, it would allow the entry of 17,000 MT of fresh red onion and 4,000 MT of fresh yellow onion. The commodities will be sourced from China, India, and the Netherlands, according to the DTI.
The DA explained that it computed the total import volume based on the country’s per capita consumption of onions. The imported stocks would also serve as a “buffer” to “stabilize” prices in the domestic market while awaiting the peak of local harvest around March to April of next year, it added.
“All imported fresh onions are required to arrive in the country on or before December 31, 2023, to guarantee our local producers that it will not coincide with the upcoming harvest. Extension of the must arrive date will still be subject to change depending on the available stocks and prices in the market,” the DA said.
The Philippines has been consistently importing fresh onions since 1996 to be able to meet its annual demand for the commodity as local production remains insufficient, showed the historical data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
For the first time in Philippine history, prices of onions zoomed to as high as P700 per kilogram early this year due to supply shortfall. The latter was pinned on stalled importation as government stood pat on its stance that local output was enough to meet the country’s demand.
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