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In the Philippines, onions serve as “money” for a day as part of a food bank scheme.

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Onions were accepted as “payment” for a limited number of in-stock items at a store in the Philippines on Saturday as part of a campaign to raise money for a “community pantry” or food bank project.

One onion is accepted at a Japan Home Center location in exchange for the requested item. “Each consumer is only allowed to purchase a total of three items. Any variety and quantity of onion are accepted, the store stated in a social media post, and all gathered onions will be used in our community pantry.”

The “pay with sibuyas” promotion, which is named after the Tagalog word for onion, is only available this Saturday. After purchasing things from the business, a client exclaimed, “Heeded the onion-raising drive of Japan Home, where onions are legal tender for one day only.”

According to the client, “Onion revenues will be used towards a community pantry initiative — fun and for a cause.”

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in April 2021, a small bamboo cart stocked with canned goods, sweet potatoes, and veggies appeared on the streets of a suburb of Quezon City. This was the beginning of the “community pantry.”

“Give what you can, take what you need” was written on a cardboard sign that was attached to the trolley. Similar “pantries,” feeding the needy, were started by the movement, which was funded by donations from the public, in the Philippine capital and provinces.

In the Philippines, onions continue to be expensive, causing consumers and fast-food establishments to forgo using them in hamburgers or other dishes.

For the purpose of stabilizing the supply and lowering the price of onions, the government is implementing a program to assist onion farmers in increasing their yield.

The necessity to increase the acreage planted for onions and to provide farmers with onion seeds for multiplication was emphasized by Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, who was also the country’s secretary of agriculture.

He bemoaned the lack of cold chain facilities in his nation, which had an impact on the availability and cost of onions.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 23,30 metric tons of onions were produced in the third quarter of 2022. Additionally, according to the Department of Agriculture’s supply and demand prediction statistics for 2022, the nation has 312,830 metric tonnes of onions on hand to meet demand at a 120 percent adequacy level.

According to data from the statistics office, each person consumes 2.341 kg of onions annually, with a monthly demand of 21,000 metric tonnes.

The entire amount of locally grown red onions in cold storage across the country as of December 15, 2022, is 2,209.45 metric tonnes. Both imported red onions and yellow onions were not stocked in cold storage facilities.

To address rising costs and supply difficulties, the agricultural department said on January 10 that it will import 22,000 metric tons of onions.

Based on daily inspections of 13 Metro Manila markets by the agriculture department in January, retail prices for onions ranged from 400 to 550 pesos (about 7.39 to 10.16 USD) per kilogram.

Onion prices reached over 700 pesos (about $12.92) per kilogram at some point last year.

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