The Potato and Onion Agri-food Chain approved the importation of 50,000 quintals of onions to supply the demand for this vegetable in August and September of this year. This measure seeks to avoid the shortage of this product in Panama and an increase in prices that is expected because of the decrease in Panama's onion harvest caused by the heavy rainfall that has affected the producing areas. 25,000 quintals of onions will be imported in August and the remaining 25,000 quintals will be imported in September.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) stated that the imports had also been approved taking into consideration the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, which is becoming harder by the day, the limited time there is to process the imports, and the risk that ports will close due to possible outbreaks.
Currently, the only markets enabled for imports are the United States, Spain, and Chile.
Panama produces nearly 27,000 quintals of onions per month. However, due to the heavy rains in Cerro Punta, production has decreased by 500 quintals per hectare, which means that there will only be 21,700 quintals of onions available in August and 20,000 quintals in September.
The head of the MIDA, Augusto Valderrama, stated that they must guarantee the supply of onions to avoid affecting consumers with a possible price increase during the months when the national onion supply falls.
On June 8, the Potato and Onion Agri-food Chain had approved the importation of 20,000 quintals to complement the national production for the month of July; a volume that started to enter the country last week.
MIDA is committed to working together with the Chain to recover the hectares of lost onions, in order to reduce imports, which affected national producers for a decade.