Tell it to SunStar: Onion shortage

By Reni M. Valenzuela

We don’t need onions like we need oxygen. We can’t survive without oxygen.

Other than the argument “the government has no option but to import onions” and the reasons why he said it, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. must have some legitimate reasons why he finally approved the Department of Agriculture’s plan to import 5,775 metric tons of onions.

My wife has discovered a new art of cooking good dishes without using onions. Just a bit of creativity, patience and momentary sacrifice (not importation) is what we need during this time of onion shortage in the country. It’s good that we only have a shortage of onions and other staple food, but not a shortage of sensible people in the government. And that I desperately want to believe.

The harvest isn’t too far for our farm producers to flood our local market with onions. After the harvest season, it is expected that we will start having more than enough onions (hopefully so) to bring their prices back to normal.

Hence, why resort to folly that could well put our farmers’ interests at needless risks and at a great disadvantage, not to mention the other varied repercussions it may create which would be detrimental not only to our agriculture sector but also to the nation as a whole? What forced some agriculture officials to convince the President to approve the importation?

Why not instead use the money to help Filipino farmers develop their capability to produce? Why not help them innovate and market their harvests at price levels that would make them happy? Why not develop our agriculture industry and prevent a food crisis from happening in the future?

Is there something amiss in the move to import onions? We sorely lack onions at this juncture, but not alligators, vultures and wolves in the government.

The President must have been aware of it. And he should have realized by now that he needs to appoint a new face as a full-time Secretary of Agriculture at the soonest possible time. Not in his time.