It seems there is no end in sight soon for the continued hike in prices of onions, which now goes for as high as PHP300 (US$5.31) per kilo in the market.
The latest price survey from the Department of Agriculture (DA) shows that prices for local red onions have fluctuated between PHP250 (US$4.43) to PHP300 in recent weeks. Still, the agricultural bureau remains tight-lipped about whether the country is experiencing a shortage in onions.
As if Filipino shoppers weren’t still reeling from these exorbitant rates, a farmer’s group warned that the price can go up to PHP400 (US$7.09) as they have noticed a shortage in the supply of onion bulbs.
In a radio interview, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) President Rosendo So said that his group had already warned the DA of the possible price spike, and had recommended the DA to import at least 7,000 metric tons of white onions and 7,500 metric tons of red onions to cushion the hike.
The farmer’s group head also hurled accusations that some DA officials were in cahoots with traders in manipulating the supply of bulbs.
“[The officials] know the consumption and the volume of production of onions to be able to plan and if there is a need to import to prevent an increase in the prices of onions. It’s the consumers who suffer. The farmers do not benefit. What I can see is connivance between officials of the DA and the traders,” he said.
Meanwhile, agriculture undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said earlier this month he has tasked the Bureau of Plant Industry to find out whether there is a shortage of red onions amid increasing prices, amid calls to establish a suggested retail price of PHP170 (US$3.01) a kilo.