Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SINAG, Custom Band vs. Onion Smugglers

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) and the Bureau of Custom (BoC) joined forces to address the plunging prices of red and white onions in the country.
A Philippine Quarantine Officer and an official of the Bureau of Custom show to the media a few samples of smuggled onions in Davao City in an old media photo's file. (DA Photo)

 According to SINAG chair Rosendo So he met last March 12 BoC Commissioner John Sevilla, BoC Deputy Commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno, and others to determine how smugglers operate by dumping the crop at the market.
For the past weeks farmers of onions in the provinces of Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija have been acrimoniously protesting the free falling buying prices of P7 to P10 a kilo from middle men.
These provinces are major suppliers of onions in the Philippines.
Ariston Balala, manager of the 300-member Kawanggawa Multipurpose Cooperative in Nueva Ecija, lamented that farmers barely recoup their investments at a price of P10 a kilo of red creole onions in a harvest of 400 bags or 12 tons from a hectare of farm land.
Mercedes Peralta, Bayambang, Pangasinan’s agriculturist chief, said a farmer spends in a range of P150, 000 to P175, 000 to produce 15,000 kilos of onions from every hectare of farm.
For an onion farmer to regain his capital outlay, Peralta said, pick up price in the farm should be at least P20 kg to P25 kg.
A P20 a kilo of farm gate price gives a Pangasinan’s onion farmer P300,000 gross income per hectare.

The municipal agriculture office (MAO) in Bayambang also said that some 650 hectares of land there are devoted to growing onions and that each hectare could yield up to 15,000 kilos.
Red and white onions are planted by farmers in Bayambang between harvest and planting season of palay.
So told Northern Watch earlier that one of the factors he suspected for the plunging prices of onions was the lone storage of the crop in Pangasinan that shut-off shop to farmers for them to deposit their onions as they wait for the market forces to stabilize.
“Dapat kasi kung bagsak ang presyo mag oopen ang storage para may mailagay. Kung lahat sa market hindi kayang i-absorb ng market ang harvest dapat sa storage”.
Prices of red onion in the market here have been pegged between P20 to P35 a kilo for the past three weeks.

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