A cheaper price range of onions may be expected next week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday.
During her visit to farmers in Nueva Ecija, DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said the farm-gate price has declined as the country nears the peak harvest season.
“Bumababa na ang presyo ng farm-gate price dito sa Bongabon (The farm-gate price [of onions] has dropped here in Bongabon). We will have to validate din po ang presyo sa (the price in) Pangasinan and other production areas. But definitely, dito sa Bongabon, sa ating pag-oobserba, bumaba na ‘yung presyo (here in Bongabon, in our observation, the price has declined),” she said.
Evangelista said the department has decided not to extend the PHP250 suggested retail price (SRP) due to the expected price drop alongside the harvest season.
“Kaya nga hanggang Jan. 7 lang ang SRP. Kasi inaasahan na after that, bababa na ‘yung presyo. So ‘yung itinakda nating PHP250 na presyo, inaasahan natin magiging PHP200 (That’s why the set SRP is only until Jan. 7 because we are expecting that after that, the price will drop. So our set PHP250 is expected to be at PHP200),” she said.
The DA monitoring shows that market prices are slowly moving to the expected cost.
“Wala na po kaming nakikitang PHP500 dun sa mga palengkeng mino-monitor. So nakikita po natin na nagre-react na ‘yung sa retail dun sa pagbaba ng presyo sa farm-gate price (We are no longer seeing PHP500 [per kg.] in the monitored markets. So, we are seeing a reaction in retail [stores] following the farm-gate price drop),” Evangelista said.
With the entry of more than 5,000 metric tons of imported onions, DA spokesperson Rex Estoperez earlier said onion prices may even decrease to PHP100 to PHP150 per kg.
The prevailing price range for local red onions in Metro Manila is PHP300 to PHP400 per kg., while local white onions are sold from PHP250 to PHP400 per kg.
In a related development, Senator Risa Hontiveros said another importation will not solve the reported egg shortage and its surging prices.
She said the shortage and high prices can be attributed to the Luzon bird flu outbreak and increasing cost of feeds.
“DA needs to step up and swiftly address the escalating egg prices on the market before it takes a turn for the worse not only in the egg industry but also for low-income households that rely on eggs as their cheapest protein source,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Friday.
Unlike chicken, pork, corn, rice and onions, Hontiveros said eggs are easily perishable that is why importation must not be considered.
The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), meanwhile, urged its members and other stakeholders to continue collaboration to achieve the administration’s food security target despite inflation challenges.
During its 93rd founding anniversary celebration, BPI chairperson Gerald Panganiban expressed his gratitude for the hard work of the organization and urged them to continue being steadfast and give their best effort to boost the country’s agricultural sector.
“I assure you of giving all our best effort not only from 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) but the hours past that… Again, I encourage everyone to continuously improve our services and programs in order for us to boost production; increase food security efforts; promote collaboration and engagement sectors; and innovations of technology,” he said.
Panganiban emphasized the need to sustain cooperation with other partner agencies and the stakeholders themselves to ensure support to farmers.
“We are all aware that the agricultural sector has a long way to go. But we have started since the administration of our President Bongbong (Ferdinand R.) Marcos Jr. has set clear directions. Food security is really the focus of our department and we cannot do this alone,” he said. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)