Just 1,900 tons of the authorized 5,000 tons of imported onions have arrived as the Department of Agriculture's (DA) deadline for the importations passed on Friday.
"So far, approximately 1,900 tons [of imported onions] arrived, 1,000 metric tons are on the market and 900 tons are still for inspection," Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Section Officer in Charge Jose Diego Roxas said in a Friday interview. The BPI expects to release the 900 tons onions under inspection on Friday or next week, Roxas added. The DA will ban the importation of onions after January 27 "and we will be strict on that," he concluded.
The government allowed a limited number of onions to be brought in an effort to pull down the soaring prices. As of Friday, retail prices of imported white onions ranged between P250 and P300 per kilo and imported red onions, between P200 and P250 per kilo.
President Marcos in the thick of it
When Ferdinand Marcos Jr became Philippine president-elect in mid-2022, he named himself Agriculture Minister, pledging to fix the country’s food problems. Alas, the nation has reported shortages of everything from salt to sugar over the last few months even as the economy grew the fastest since the 1970s last year.
The shortages of basic food staples are being felt throughout the economy and helped propel inflation to near the highest levels since the global financial crisis in 2008.
The government and lawmakers blame greedy traders for hoarding food to create artificial shortages that allows them to jack up prices. When discussing the onion crisis earlier this month, Senator Imee Marcos, the president’s sister, said there’s “a level of treachery and manipulation involved because these prices are inexplicable.”
[ P1 = €0.017 ]