Cold storages uphold SRP of onions

‘How could they (goverment) penalize? They don’t even put a capital, just the SRP’

Combined personnel of the Bureau of Plant Industry, field inspectors of the Department of Agriculture alongside members of the Philippine National Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Tuesday rolled out their inspections of cold storages and warehouses to check the price of onions.

This is for the DA to set the suggested retail price for red and white onions expected to be announced and implemented today (Wednesday, 24 May).

Earlier, DA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said the agency would set a P140 per kilogram (kg) SRP for white onions, and P150/kg for red onions in local markets.

DA will also set a P115 per kilo for the red and P100 for the white onions in cold storages to allow farmers and traders enough profit when the onions go out of cold storage and land in the hands of retailers.

“This is the department’s strategy to protect consumers. That’s why we said, our wholesale price for cold storage is P115. This is what we have agreed on for the red and P100 for the white. That will be the basis how much it should be in the market,” she said.

Said prices, according to Evangelista was the result of their meeting with some traders who have agreed to set a cold storage wholesale price following their stakeholders’ meeting. It will also be the basis of their inspections.

“Even the privately-owned (cold storages) shall be visited by the BPI, the PNP and its CIDG to see the prices of onions, who have entered it, as well as the outflow,” she added in mixed English and Filipino.

Meanwhile, Evangelista said that for the retailers to implement a P150 market price, the price of onions from cold storage must reach P125 to P130.

While an SRP is about to be set and implemented, onion growers doubted how is DA could penalize would be violators.

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

Vistar said once the onions got out of cold storages, “cost of money” comes in.

“Spillage, rejected (bulbs of onions) before being sold in retail to the market,” Vistar explained, referring to would be losses a trader or wholesaler would experience before handing the onions to retailers in the market.

For Vistar, the goverment should act as buyers of their harvest, which was lowly priced last year causing a shortage and the importation of tons of onions.

“Our harvest last year went as low as P4 per kilo from P9 to P7,” he said, making most of onion farmers not to plan anymore and shifted to plant other kind of vegetables.

“If say the goverment (through DA) will buy our harvest even at P60, we can survived,” Vistar explained.

This way, Vistar added, will encourage onion growers to plant more onions for the country not to rely on imported ones.

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