Gov’t eyeing to sell smuggled onions to address surging price

Photo by Joey Sanchez Mendoza

The government is looking into bringing smuggled onions into the markets to mitigate the problem in onion supply, no less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Thursday.

“We’re trying to find ways to bring the smuggled onions that have been caught and sell them to the market to lessen the supply problem,” Marcos said in a video message released to reporters by the Office of the Press Secretary.

“But there are some legal issues to doing that immediately. So we’re still working on that. But we will keep the prices down by monitoring,” he added.

The Department of Trade and Industry, he said, will continue to monitor the prices of onion after news broke out that the vegetable is now being sold for up to P720 per kilogram in some markets in Metro Manila.

“We will stick firmly to the recommended price. The DTI will continue to monitor,” Marcos said.

Department of Agriculture deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez previously said that the government is considering importing onions by early January 2023 in a bid to normalize supply.

According to Estoperez, the suggested retail price for onions is only P170 per kilogram, though farm gate prices are around P300 per kilogram.

In reality, however, the price of large-sized red onions in some Metro Manila markets ranges from P550 to P720 per kilogram, while small-sized ones cost P440 per kilogram.

DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista, meanwhile, disclosed that the government and stakeholders have agreed to set the kilogram SRP of red onions to P250 on 29 December and implement it on 30 December.

The government is set to meet with stakeholders again next month as prices of onions are expected to decrease with the coming of the harvest season.

Some lawmakers have called for an inquiry into the soaring prices of local onions amid the recent flooding of imported varieties and the reported rampant smuggling of the product from other countries.

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