Onions sold at P700 in markets bought for P8-P15 a kilo from farmers, says agriculturist
MANILA, Philippines — Onions sold for P700 per kilo in markets were bought from farmers for only P8 to P15, an agriculturist claimed on Monday.
San Jose, Occidental Mindoro municipal agriculturist Romel Calingasan expressed dismay over the skyrocketing prices of onions as it does not benefit farmers but rather negatively affects them.
“‘Yang presyong pinag-uusapan po natin ngayon na nag-range po sa P650 hanggang P700 sa merkado, ‘yan po ay binili lamang po sa mga magsasaka ng taga San Jose, Occidental Mindoro ng P8 to P15 during harvest season po sa amin noong buwan po ng March to April nung 2022, last cropping season po,” Calingasan shared during the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform hearing on the rising prices of onions.
(The onions being sold in the market from P650 to P700 per kilo were purchased from farmers in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro for only P8 to P15 per kilo during the harvest season in March to April 2022, the last cropping season.)
“‘Yung mga binebenta po sa merkado sa kasalukuyan, at nung buwan ng September hanggang December, ‘yan po ang sinasabi ko na binili sa mga magsasaka namin sa Occidental Mindoro ng P8 to P15 lang per kilo,” he added.
(The onions that were being sold in markets now and those sold during the months of September to December were the ones bought from Occidental Mindoro farmers for P8 to P15 per kilo.)
Although they are onion farmers themselves, Calingasan said local farmers are also suffering from the soaring prices of the commodity as they were not able to store their produce.
“Ang atin pong mga local farmers na categorized na producers, ngayon po ay consumers na… kasi wala na rin po silang sibuyas kasi nga po hindi naman sila nakapag-store dahil during po ng harvest season, wala po kaming nahanap na mga slots aa mga storage facilities dahil ang sabi po puno na ang mga storage facilities dito po sa Metro Manila at ganu’n din po sa amin sa Occidental Mindoro,” the agriculturist elaborated.
(Our local farmers, categorized as producers, are now consumers. They don’t have onions anymore because they were not able to store their harvest as we couldn’t find available slots in storage facilities in Metro Manila and in Occidental Mindoro.)
Due to lack of storage facilities, farmers were forced to sell their harvests at a loss and those that were not sold were just left to rot, Calingasan said.
“Kaya kung nabalitaan nyo po yung nangyari sa’min, marami pong mga sibuyas ang nagkandabulukan, itinapon sa mga tabi ng kalsada, sa mga gilid ng ilog na kung saan talagang sobra pong panghihinayang ang amin pong naramadaman kasi po talagang pinagkagastusan ng aming magsasaka ‘yan,” he said.
(If you heard previous reports, tons of rotten onions were thrown on roadsides, on riverbanks. That’s upsetting because the farmers spent so much to grow them.)
Calingasan said a farmer spends more than P250,000 per hectare to grow the crop.
For the agriculturist, the country’s current onion situation puts farmers at a disadvantage.
In December last year, a kilo of onions was priced at P750.
The Department of Agriculture, headed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., reported over the weekend that onion farm gate and retail prices have declined to P250 and around P400, respectively.
Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla, during the same hearing, said the prices of onions may decrease to P120 to P150 per kilo as the harvest season is set to start in the third or fourth week of January.
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