The Department of Agriculture (DA) is taking steps to improve the production of quality onions in the country, including partnering with local government units in undertaking information awareness and training programs.
In a news release on Friday, the DA reported that surprise visits to production areas in Bongabon and Rizal, Nueva Ecija have been conducted by its officials to observe the ongoing harvest and discuss ways to assist onion farmers.
These officials include Assistant Secretaries Arnel de Mesa, Danny Atayde, and Genevieve Guevarra, together with Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)Director Glenn Panganiban, and Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service Director Junibert De Sagun.
They all agreed that regular monitoring of onion farms could immediately address any production challenges that may affect the quality and volume of harvest.
“Let us practice early reporting and monitoring of unusual events in the farms,” Guevarra said during a recent meeting with onion growers and members of the Provincial and Municipal Agriculture Office.
The government is ready to support the industry to ensure that farmers maximize productivity to increase their income, she added.
Meantime, Panganiban noted that the DA, through BPI, will provide a technical support program to onion farmers and agricultural extension workers to equip industry stakeholders with effective tools and knowledge in managing the production areas.
“We will also assist onion growers of Nueva Ecija in securing a Philippine Good Agricultural Practices certificate to enable them to access more markets,” he said.
The BPI will hold training programs on Integrated Pest Management, efficient use of biocontrol agents, and judicious use of farm inputs, including fertilizer and pesticides in addition to the regular information campaign carried out by the Regional Crop Protection Center.
The DA also committed to establishing more storage facilities not only for onion but for other high-value crops as well.
Nueva Ecija is a major grower of onions in Central Luzon with more than 10,500 hectares planted to the white bulb.
The volume of production throughout the country for 2024 is projected at more than 300,000 metric tons.
De Mesa said the DA is expecting positive onion production for this year as the presence of “harabas” or fall army worm has slightly affected yield.
“With the pro-active efforts of the national and local government, the effect is considered negligible,” he added.
The provincial agriculture office has reported that only eight percent of the total production area was affected. (PNA)