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BPI: Timely setup of SRP and secured adequate supply of onions

Despite rising market prices, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) promised a sufficient supply of onions nationwide on Wednesday.

The market price for red onions is hitting as much as PHP160 to PHP200 per kilogram, while the local white onion is between PHP150 and PHP200/kg, according to BPI spokesperson Jose Diego Roxas at a Laging Handa public briefing.

“Ating supply of sibuyas, mapapula, or puti is presently steady. The supply of our red or white onions is sufficient as of mid-July, according to the puting sibuyas. We anticipate having enough white onions till mid-July),” he stated.

“While for our red onions, we’re expecting it to last to November until December,” he continued. “Samantalang ang pulang sibuyas naman po ay inaasahang magtatagal hanggang buwan ng Nobyembre hanggang Disyembre.”

But he added that in order to stabilize the market price, the agriculture department needed to take certain measures.

In addition to considering importation, Roxas stated that one of the measures being researched is establishing suggested retail prices (SRP) for red and white onions.

“The SRP is timely, because the SRP will be the basis or benchmark of the fair and just price of onions,” he added. “Sapagkat ang SRP po, ito ‘yung magiging basehan natin o benchmark kung ano po ba ‘yung tama at makatarungang presyo ng sibuyas.”

Setting the SRP, Roxas continued, would assist in establishing whether importing would still be necessary.

The importation of 22,000 metric tons of white and red onions, equal to the nation’s consumption for a whole month, is one of the Department of Agriculture’s plans to stabilize the price, it was announced on Tuesday.

Other ideas, like the planned partnership between the DA and the local governments’ local price coordinating council, were explored at the stakeholders meeting, according to Roxas.

The council is anticipated to oversee the SRP’s implementation once it has been constituted and to intensify its interaction with the Philippine Competition Commission to look into and combat merchant price-fixing.

“Rest assured that with these interventions, we can hope that the DA is doing its best to stabilize the market price, a price that is affordable and just for consumers,” Roxas stated in a combination of English and Filipino.

Meanwhile, the BPI emphasized that imports should be “calibrated” or sufficient to fill the volume gap left by domestic production if the nation chose to employ them.

Although a specific importation schedule has not yet been established, the BPI noted that historical data indicates a five-month white onion deficit, with a one-month red onion shortage beginning in December.

However, the country is anticipated to approach its harvest season by January of the following year, therefore, a fair importation volume and timing are required.

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