DA suspends onion importation amid sufficient supply

DA suspends onion importation, says supply enough to meet demand

/ 07:13 AM January 19, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered the temporary suspension of onion importation until May as domestic harvest and the arrival of additional supply were sufficient to meet domestic demand.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said this move was also aimed at ensuring the stability of onion prices.

Tiu Laurel, however, said the DA could further extend the suspension onion importation up to July if the situation would call for it.


“In principle, I agree with no onion importation until July. But that is on condition that if there is a sudden supply shortfall, we will have to import earlier,” he said in a statement.


“We don’t know what would happen because of El Niño,” he said.

Warmer temperature due to El Niño — the full effect of which could be felt around March and April — could spawn more pests that could undermine onion production.

READ: Gov’t allows onion imports to stop ‘absurd increase’ in prices

The agriculture secretary met with representatives of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) on Thursday to discuss the situation.

Armyworm infestation

PCAFI said the country could expect an onion supply surplus as the area planted to the crop has been substantially increased.  It also noted that the estimated damage from the reported armyworm infestation in Nueva Ecija would only be about 5 percent of standing onion crops.

Nueva Ecija accounts for 97 percent of onion production in Luzon, while Luzon produces 65 percent of onion supply nationwide.


READ: What we know so far about ‘out of control’ rise in onion prices

According to official government data, onion prices now range from P50 to P70 per kilo.

In some areas in Nueva Ecija, prices have even dropped to as low as P20 a kilo.

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This was a far cry from the levels in December 2022,  when onion prices surged to as high as P720 a kilo due to tight supply.

TAGS: Department of Agriculture, importation, onion, suspension

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