[Agri stakeholders uniting vs. onion importation]
More agriculture stakeholders are opposing the latest importation of 21, 060 metric tons approved by the Department of Agriculture. “DA importing onions in the middle of the harvest season proves the agency’s epic failure to address the food inflation,” according to KMP chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano.
Mariano reiterated that further importation will hurt only farmers and consumers. Importers were given until January 27 to ship to the country some 17,100 metric tons (MT) of red onions and 3,960 MT of yellow onions.
“Importing in the middle of the harvest season is the height of callousness and inutility. Walang suplay shortage sa sibuyas. Hindi importasyon ang solusyon at lalong hindi awtomatikong bababa ang presyo ng sibuyas sa mga palengke pagdating ng imports. Ang mga importer, trader at smugglers lang ang makikinabang sa desisyon ng DA na mag-import,” Mariano said, adding that the worsening food crisis highlights Marcos Jr.’s ‘grossly ineffective’ and ‘remote-control performance’ as agriculture secretary.
With regard to the increasing egg prices, KMP said the DA must do more than just monitor prices. Industry stakeholders are proposing concrete solutions. “DA must listen to egg and poultry stakeholders to be able to effectively address the issue. In fact, this problem of rising egg prices stems from the DA’s slow and ineffective response to the bird flu in the past years.”
KMP noted that almost 2 million birds were culled in Central Luzon last year due to the bird flu outbreak. Eggs are consumed both by households and institutional buyers and rising prices could push up the prices of other by-products and foodstuff.
“Dapat aksyunan na ito ng DA bago pa matulad sa napakamahal na presyo ng sibuyas at asukal ang presyo ng itlog,” the KMP leader said. Medium egg prices now range from P6.90 to P8.70 and even higher in retail markets and community stores. Farm gate prices range between P6.80 and P7 per piece.
KMP also called on the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry to strictly enforce the Price Control Act.
Consumers and farmers’ groups will mount protests against exorbitant food prices in the coming days. KMP has previously called for Marcos Jr.’s resignation as DA secretary while other agri stakeholders are demanding that the Chief Executive appoint a permanent DA secretary. ###