Help onion farmers recover from heavy post-harvest losses – farmers group

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and partylist Anakpawis today said that the Department of Agriculture must implement decisive measures to immediately help ailing onion farmers recover from gargantuan post-harvest losses.

KMP and Anakpawis said the need to reduce post-harvest losses and increase yield is imperative. Based on data, recorded post-harvest losses from freshly-harvested onions registered at 45.06% or 48, 891 MT worth Php1.96-billion, while losses from cold-stored onion chain was at 63.90% or equivalent to 69, 333MT worth Php4.01-billion. “Ibig sabihin, halos kalahati ang lugi sa pagsisibuyas dahil sa kakulangan ng mga cold storage. Dahil wala namang akses sa cold storage ang mga magsasaka, nabubulok na lang ang ani nila at hindi na ito mabibili o napakababa na ng presyo sa farmgate,” according to KMP’s Danilo Ramos.

It is unfortunate that even large food corporations and establishments are sourcing their onion supply from imports while farmers are forced to throw their harvest due to very low farmgate prices. Kung may sapat na suporta lang ang gobyerno sa mga magsasaka ng sibuyas, mapapataas pa ang produksyon at mababawasan ang pagkalugi. We do not need to resort to importation. Domestic production and farm gate prices of onion keeps decreasing due to the influx of imported onion sold at much cheaper prices.

From 2015 to 2019, the local onion supply meets only up to 70 percent of the country’s total requirements. In 2021, domestic onion production 11,000 metric tons last year from its 2020 level. Central Luzon is the biggest producer of onion with 62.5 percent production, followed by Ilocos Region with a production of 17.48 percent and MIMAROPA with 15.78 percent production.

For his part, Anakpawis chairperson and former agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano said the government, particularly the Bureau of Internal Revenue should expedite the collection enforcement of the P203-billion unpaid estate tax of the Marcos family and allocate it to rural development and aiding farmers. ###

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