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Philippines: Farmers urge government to stop importation of onions
Time:14 Aug 2010
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Onion farmers are asking the government not to import onions for the rest of the year, as there are enough of the produce stored in warehouses all over the country.

The Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magsisibuyas ng Nueva Ecija (Kasamne) noted that the harvest of onions reached 170,000 metric tons (MT). This is 50,000 MT more than the 120,000 MT required by the Philippines annually.

"There are enough onions currently stored in warehouses all over the country. Kasamne's storage has around 240,000 bags, while warehouses outside of Metro Manila have around 1.9 million bags of onions stored," said Kasamne chairman Rodolfo Niones in a telephone interview.

Niones also requested the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to adopt the practice of consulting farmers and other industry stakeholders prior to allowing the importation of onion.Kasamne disclosed that there are already traders who have requested the BPI for permits to import onions."We are not against importing onions, but I don't think it should be done at this time when there is a surplus," said Niones.

The usual peak harvest season for onions is from March to April, while the lean season is from June to December.The Philippines resorts to importing onions from countries such as China to plug the gap in available supply and local demand.Meanwhile, Kasamne asked the Bureau of Customs to further tighten its monitor of ports to prevent the entry of smuggled onions from China.

Niones alleged that some white onions from China are being sold in Divisoria.Currently, Kasamne said farm-gate prices of onions range from P26 to P28 per kilogram.

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