After a thorough examination by different government organizations, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has authorized…
DA approves the admission of the first 5.7K MT of imported onions.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday that just 5,775 metric tons of the 21,060 metric tons (MT) of fresh imported onions had been initially permitted to enter the country before the peak harvest season.
DA Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla stated at the hybrid hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform that only 142 sanitary and phytosanitary import approvals for importation were issued from January 9 to January 13.
“We are hoping po sana, kasi kung 5,000 (metric tons) lang ‘yung darating, makakababa siya ng mga PHP200 to PHP220,” the source said. “Because if only 5,000 metric tons [of onions] will come, it will help lower the costs to approximately PHP200-PHP250 [per kilo].”
The 22,000 metric tons of onions that were first suggested for importation, according to local onion producers, will hurt farmers.
“Sana po bang ‘yan ang papatay sa amin pong mga magsasaka, ‘yung plano ng Department of Agriculture na mag-issue na naman ng importation permission para sa 22,000 metric tons? (We hope that the DA’s decision to provide a further import permit for 22,000 metric tons [of onions] won’t lead to the extinction of our growers.) ” Romel Calingasan, the municipal agriculturalist of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, spoke to the senators.
Calingasan lamented the “poor time” of the import order issuing in addition to the import volume.
To “defend local farmers,” the DA cut the intended 22,000 import volume to 21,060.
A total of 4,525 MT of fresh red onions are anticipated to enter multiple ports, including 3,875 MT in Manila, 400 MT in Davao, and 250 MT in Subic.
Additionally, about 1,250 metric tons of fresh yellow onions will be sent to Cagayan de Oro, Subic, Davao, and Manila (1,075 MT, 75 MT each) (25 MT).
Local red onions currently cost between PHP350 and PHP550 per kilo in Metro Manila as of Friday.
Additionally, Senator JV Ejercito counseled the DA and the Bureau of Customs to focus their efforts on major smugglers.
He claimed that despite the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, Republic Act 10845, being signed in 2016, no serious charges had been brought.
He declared he would work to have the National Bureau of Investigation and other government organizations added to the task force that will strictly implement the law.
According to him, the 11 kg of onions seized from 10 Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight attendants traveling through the United Arab Emirates are insignificant in relation to the smugglers’ stockpile.
“For personal use, the PAL crew is nagdadala on pasalubong. Sapatos, ubas, pabango, and dati mansanas. The PAL crew brought onions for personal use. Ngayon, sibuyas na. Apples, grapes, perfumes, and shoes were once brought in as gifts, but today they prefer onions. Ejercito stated that this is already grounds for concern.
Senator Raffy Tulfo, on the other hand, recommended the DA to work with other law enforcement organizations and make sure that they bring cases against major smugglers.
Help the farmers, please. Let’s assist the farmers if there is a shortage; tsaka kayo mag-isip if it is possible to export the product; no pure imports. Feel sorry for them. Let’s look into how we may assist their productions if there is a shortfall. Don’t depend on imports),” he advised.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also advocated for authorizing imports in two stages, importing half of the 21,060 MT and delaying the rest until after the local harvest.
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