Bureau of Plant Industry allows imports of red onions
THE BUREAU of Plant Industry has approved 121 permits for the importation of red onions as Typhoon “Lando” ravaged the country’s main onion-growing areas in Central Luzon.
Paz J. Benavidez II, officer-in-charge at the BPI, said yesterday in an interview there were “many” more pending applications to ship in red onions.
Benavidez told reporters each permit was valid for two months, which means that the imports should arrive by the end of January 2016.
Also, the permits approved so far belong to 19 importers out of the 101 accredited with the BPI.
At a maximum of 50 tons each permit, the number of papers approved as of yesterday represent cargos totaling 6,050 tons.
The volume represents 13 percent of the supply needed to meet domestic demand at this time of the year, which Benavidez said was 45,000 tons.
According to the BPI, the country consumes 485 tons of red onions daily, which add up to some 177,000 tons yearly.
“Because of Lando and also due to (the dry conditions resulting from) El Niño, farmers are not able to plant in the usual time of the year,” Benavidez said.
Normally, onion growers start the year’s crop in October—there is just one cropping every year—but the output is close to demand.
The crop becomes ready for reaping by February, with the harvest peaking in March.
This year, while farmers may still be able to plant onion, harvest may not be in time with the usual months when stocks are replenished.
“This is the first time that we are issuing permits since 2012, when we achieved self-sufficiency in terms of red onions,” Benavidez said.
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