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Restriction sought on onion imports in Philippines

The Department of Agriculture (DA) should restrict importation of onion in order to save the P4 billion onion industry and should time importation only when supply is already in dearth. An association of 20 big onion growers based in Bongabong, Nueva Ecija said in a press briefing that they are appealing to DA Secretary Arthur C. Yap to allow importation only from November to December this year when local supply is projected to run out.

"We are not against importation, but we hope DA will only release an import permit for the November to December period, not now when harvest is still on-going, said Alfredo G. Lim Jr., spokesman of the Nueva Ecija onion growers. "Once DA issues a permit, all types of (illegal) commodities will arrive. There will be flooding and dumping. Even now when there is no import permit yet, you already see imported (smuggled) onions all over the market. There is no winner in importation (not the farmers, not the Philippine economy)," he said.

The onion growers assured retailers that they can supply onion at P58 to P60 per kilo wholesale at Divisoria retail shops and will try to keep this price until the third quarter of the year so that there’s no present need for importation. Benito M. Domingo, owner of onion-growing BM Domingo Farms in Bongabong, said it is unfair that many who claim to be onion growers but who really profit from importation are pressing government to issue onion import permits.

But the real casualty of more import permits are 35,000 onion growers throughout the country that also has negative impact on 500,000 others in the supply chain who are involved in service provision (seeds, fertilizers), cold storage, and transportation and distribution.


Publication date: 5/28/2008


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