|There's no onion crisis – Alcala|
|Written by DA-OSEC|
|Thursday, 12 March 2015 02:10|
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala allayed fears about a possible onion crisis in Central Luzon, saying the prevailing low prices of the commodity could be the result of bumper harvests as more farmers were encouraged to plant, and not the alleged stockpiling of imported onions.
The DA chief nonetheless called on the industry to work with the Department in formulating strategies to address the situation and help farmers avoid further losses as oversupply naturally drives prices to lower levels.
"Ang crisis po ay kung wala kang mabibili kagaya po ng nangyari sa bawang before," Alcala told reporters in Santiago, Ilocos Sur on Monday where he distributed various fishing gears and equipment to local fisherfolk organizations.
“Mababa daw ang presyo dahil marami (ang suplay). Hindi ko po nakikitang problema yun dahil nakita ng tao na maganda ang kita sa sibuyas kaya marami ang nagtanim.”
Long term-solution: Onions in powder, oil forms
Meanwhile, onion farmer-leaders in Pinili, Ilocos Norte welcomed a suggestion from the DA chief to consider the processing of onions into powdered and oil forms as one strategy to maximizing use of the abundant harvest.
The farmer-leaders, who met with Alcala during his visit Monday to DA’s newly-completed Onion-Garlic Hanger Storage Project in Brgy. Darat, expressed their readiness to become the pilot project beneficiaries for onion processing.
Alcala said DA is ready to provide onion farmers willing to go into processing with appropriate support – from production to marketing – to help increase economic opportunities for them, and make farming more productive.
“DA will always protect the interest and welfare of Filipino farmers,” Alcala said. “In fact, we created enemies in smugglers as we perform that duty. But there’s no bargain for that. The Filipino farmers are the reason for our being at DA.”
Alcala noted that the onion industry was virtually a dying industry by 2010 but the Aquino Administration turned it around through swift and targeted interventions, including making available high quality planting materials.
No import permit issued
Meanwhile, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) OIC-Director Atty. Paz Benavidez II clarified that the BPI has not issued any Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPIC) to any importer for red onion since 2012, while less than 10,000 metric tons of (yellow granex) white onion has arrived from September 2014 to January this year.
"We are not expecting any onion arrivals soon because all the SPICs that have been issued are already expired and there are no more pending applications in our list," Benavidez said.
Usec. Emerson U. Palad
Undersecretary for Field Operations & Spokesperson
Contact No. 09219780403
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2015 02:11|