The Department of Agriculture’s abrupt move to stop the selling cheaper onion at Kadiwa stores is really due to the arrival of imports. “Nandyan na ang mga imported na sibuyas. Siguradong may usapan na ang DA at mga importers. Itinigil muna ng DA ang bentahan ng mas murang sibuyas sa Kadiwa para kumita ang importers. Sa huli, lugi pa rin ang masang mamimili at mga local onion growers,” KMP chairman emeritus Rafael Mariano said. “Mas masaklap pa kung sa importers bibili ng sibuyas ang DA na ibebenta sa Kadiwa,” the peasant leader further said, referring to DA’s statement that it is now finalizing the agreement for the second cycle of procurement of onion bulbs from suppliers.
“True to its nature, the DA gives primary concern for importers while neglecting the plight and pleas of farmers and consumers who are both affected by the onion supply and price manipulation instigated by the cartel –importer-traders-smugglers. This “untouchable cartel” responsible for manipulating onion prices is in cahoots with corrupt DA officials and Marcos Jr. is turning a blind eye to this situation.”
“Sa totoo lang, walang hawak na suplay ng sibuyas ang DA at ang gobyerno kaya walang magawa sa napakataas na presyo,” Mariano said, also noting that onion prices have gone up by as much as 1000% compared to the same period last year.
KMP also noted that retail prices of onion slightly dropped right after DA announced the importation of 21,060 metric tons of yellow and red onion bulbs. Based on DA’s monitoring, onion prices now range from P370 to P550 per kilo.
On Friday, DA announced the agency’s decision to stop selling P170 per kilo of onions at Kadiwa centers. Consumers started flocking to Kadiwa stores to buy cheaper onions after prices skyrocketed to as much as P600 to P700 per kilo in the past weeks.
KMP, along with consumer groups, will protest the DA’s importation policy and demand agricultural subsidies for farmers in a picket next week.
“We encourage the public, especially wage earners and consumers who are burdened by steadily rising food prices to express their discontent and demands. In the middle of an unprecedented food inflation, the agriculture secretary is going on official trips abroad and attending to other matters of national concern. We deserve a better, more competent agriculture secretary,” Mariano concluded. ###