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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Solon urges gov’t to halt new onion importations

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Nueva Ecija Rep. Rosanna Ria Vergara on Sunday called on the government to stop the new importation of red onions, prioritize the production of homegrown onions, and help farmers cope with their losses.

Interviewed over TeleRadyo Serbisyo, the lawmaker said “There are sufficient stocks of the locally produced onions while the government has approved to import. That is why our farmers have been crying because no one would buy the locally produced red onions.”

“No traders would want to buy at the right price since the BPI (Bureau of Plant Industry) has issued import permits. They would want to buy at P30 (per kilo), P35 (per kilo). Let us say (to sell) at P150  or P50 and you sell at P120. That would be a big profit,” she said.

She maintained the BPI must stop the issuance of import permits for red onions as the Department of Agriculture should also link the farmers to buyers who could buy their onions in bulk.

Several onion raisers in Nueva Ecija had offered to sell their produce at P90 to P100 a kilo just to break even,  and that other farmers elsewhere have been dealing with the same ordeal, she cited.

She lamented that imported onions have overtaken the local ones.

“The farmers would no longer plant if they are not earning enough. We will become import-dependent on onions,” she said.

During a previous hearing in aid of legislation in Congress, some lawmakers slammed the BPI’s grant of authorization to import 6,000 metric tons of red onions when there are 75 million kilograms — 75,000 metric tons — of local onions in cold storage facilities.

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