SENATOR Imee Marcos called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure that the government agency’s plan to import 35,000 metric tons of red onions would not affect local harvests in March.
The DA said it decided to import red onions to make up for a supply shortage.
Marcos fears that a glut in imported red onions would end up rotting in government warehouses, without bringing down the price of the farm produce.
A similar situation happened last year when the National Food Authority imported millions of pesos worth of rice but was unable to bring down market prices significantly, Marcos cited.
Also, Marcos said, the importation of rice from other countries has significantly hurt the livelihood of many Filipino farmers.
“Baka bumaha ng imported na sibuyas, at pagkatapos matetengga na naman ang mga aanihing local na sibuyas sa Marso. Tapos anong mangyayari? ibebenta na lamang nang palugi ang mga lokal na sibuyas natin gaya sa nangyari sa lokal na palay sa bansa, na ikalulugi na naman ng ating mga maliliit na magsasaka,” Marcos said.
The wholesale price of red onions in December averaged P195 per kilo, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
At groceries and supermarkets, red onions sold for P150 to P200 per kilo.