As red onion prices rise, PH farmers pitch solution

THE public should expect higher prices of red onions at the Tabunok Public Market in Talisay City as these items have been sourced from Dalaguete town and the Carbon Public Market in Cebu City.

Bernard Quijano, head of the Talisay City Agriculture’s Office, told SunStar Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, that there is no supplier of red onions in Talisay City.

He said unlike before, the crops produced in Talisay now are only tomatoes and other vegetables.

He said market vendors usually get the red onions they sell from Carbon Public Market and from Dalaguete town. Dalaguete is 84 kilometers south of Cebu City.

Quijano said they have been monitoring the prices of vegetables and spices at the markets in Talisay to ensure that there is no overpricing.

On Friday, Dec. 9, a kilo of red onion cost P300 at the Tabunok Public Market, up from P280 on Dec. 7.

The original price of red onion in the market was only P80 to P120 per kilo, but the price started to increase in October this year.

The price of the less aromatic white onion has also hit P400 per kilo.

Quijano said the prices of meat also increased due to the Christmas season when the demand for it is high.

“Misaka gyud ultimo ang feeds sa atong livestock. Nitaas na man gani kaayo. Mao nang kasagaran livestock raiser nato, kagar gyud sila kay ang presyo sa baboy karon wala man mosaka ang presyo sa karne P320, unya ang feeds karon almost P2,000 naman ang sako,” he said.

(Even the price of the feeds for our livestock has risen. It has really increased. That is why many of our livestock raisers are complaining that the price of pork has recently remained at P320 per kilo when the feeds today cost almost P2,000 per sack.)

So they can cope with the high prices of commodities, Quijano urged consumers to buy only what they need.

He also said they will continue to provide fertilizers and vegetable seedlings to farmers in Talisay City. This, he added, is part of the program of the City Government.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said earlier that the exorbitant cost of red onions can be blamed on the law of supply and demand.

DA Assistant Secretary for the Visayas Salvador Diputado said red onions have to be brought in from other parts of the country, since Cebu does not grow them commercially.

Ensuring supply

Amid the outcry over the high price of red onions, a farmers’ group has emphasized that having enough post-harvest facilities and a timely harvest monitoring system are the best ways to ensure enough supply of red onions in the country.

Danilo Fausto, president of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc., urged the government to put up enough post-harvest facilities and monitor the months when there is an excessive supply of red onions to prevent another scarcity and price hike of edible bulbs next year.

The price of onion has been increasing in the past few months.

Fausto told SunStar Cebu on Thursday, Dec. 8, that the price increase in onions is normal due to the tight supply.

He added that during the peak harvest season, there was plenty of supply of red onions that got damaged due to the lack of storage facilities.

He said this factor might have contributed to the recent increase in the price of onions in the market.

Fausto said red onions are at their peak for large volume harvest during the months of February, March and April.

After that, farmers have to plant red onions again during the lean season from June to December.

Fausto said farmers could harvest only a few onions by the third or fourth week of December, resulting in the price increase due to the lack of supply.

Apart from that, he said some onion traders had taken advantage of the situation by allegedly hoarding their stocks, resulting in the shortage of the said vegetable.

“Feb-April nag-harvest ang farmers, then binibigay na in the hands of traders. So, hindi na farmers ang pinag-uusapan, traders na. So, wala ng makukuhang benefit ang mga farmers,” said Fausto.

(Farmers harvest from February to April, then pass on the onions to the traders. So the pricing is now in the hands of traders. Farmers can no longer benefit from it.) (BBT / LMY, HIC)