The Department of Agriculture in the Philippines has imported 21,000 metric tons (MT) of onions to address increased demand during the holiday season.

The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) reported that the DA imported 17,000 MT of red onions and 4,000 MT of yellow onions from China, India, and the Netherlands. The imported onions are expected to arrive this month and will serve as a buffer stock to stabilize prices during the peak harvest period from March to April 2024.

Currently, red onions are priced at PHP140 to PHP180 per kilo, and the BPI anticipates a price decrease with the arrival of the imported onions. The move is part of the Onion Expansion Program launched by the DA in Tupi, South Cotabato, to address commodity price increases and strengthen onion production.

The program aims to combat agricultural smuggling, promote local onion production, and achieve self-sufficiency, potentially transforming South Cotabato into an onion exporting hub. DA Assistant Secretary James Layug emphasized the program's commitment to supporting onion farmers and reducing dependency on imports.