Onion growers to gov’t: Buy from us

Photograph by Joey Sanchez Mendoza For The Daily Tribune @tribunephl_joey | Retail price of onions is expected to reach as high as P500 to P700 per kilo amid the abrupt spike in the cost of the bulbs, farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura warned. It lamented that during the peak harvest, the farmgate prices only ranged between P50 and P80 per kilo.

While a suggested retail price for onions is about to be set and implemented by the governments, onion growers doubt how the Department of Agriculture could run after violators.

“How could they (government) penalize? They don’t even put in capital, just the SRP,” Jimmy Vistar, an onion grower who pioneered the use of biofertilizers, told the Daily Tribune.

Vistar said once the onions are out of cold storage, the “cost of money” comes in, in terms of the losses a trader or wholesaler might encounter such as “spillage, or rejected (bulbs of onions) before being sold in retail to the market,”

For Vistar, the government should instead act as buyers of their harvest.

“Our harvest last year went as low as P4 per kilo from P9 to P7,” he said, forcing many onion farmers to shift to planting other kind of vegetables.

“If, say, the government (through the DA) will buy our harvest even at P60, we can survive,” he stressed. And it will encourage onion growers to plant more onions, sparing the country from having to rely on importations.

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