Oliver Bugarin 7 0 0 4 min to read

Imee Marcos wants the DA to keep track of white onions.

On Sunday, Senator Imee Marcos urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to carry out a white onion inventory and pledged to seek money for cold storage facilities to protect the produce of regional farmers.

According to Marcos, onion dealers in Divisoria are now selling white onions to well-known fast food companies for up to PHP400 per kilo, up from PHP40 previously.

She suggested that the DA track down the traders who purchased white onions from neighborhood farmers to see if they are keeping the product in cold storage facilities.

The senator added in a statement that “without a thorough inventory, we cannot arrive at a well-calibrated importation strategy that responds to consumer demand but also relieves our local growers from low farmgate pricing.”

She added that smugglers of imported white onions are currently taking advantage of the situation by selling the item to the restaurant business for 10 times the typical price, and that the national budget should offer more cold storage facilities for local growers.

However, Marcos pushed for the inclusion of farmers in the Visayas and Mindanao to obtain a better understanding of the situation. The DA has begun listing the names of traders gathered from farmers in significant onion-growing areas like Nueva Ecija and Mindoro.

Before the next significant crop in April and while awaiting the findings of the inventory, Marcos urged the government to connect more local farmers with the restaurant sector.

“Contract-growing, where industrial customers ensure local growers of money from their next harvests and, in turn, are ensured supply of (the) staple ingredient in their food items, can shut out smugglers from the supply chain,” she said.

Local onion growers have acknowledged that their supply of white onions has run out.

Marcos expressed worry that the November white onion yield would not meet the increased demand for the holiday season.

If white onions begin to sprout or decay while being stored, she noted that wet weather conditions will make things worse.


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