Farmers hit ‘calibrated importation’ coinciding with the harvest season

As 5K MT imported onions arrive


Group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reiterated its demand for the government to recall its importation order of 21,060 metric tons of onion and encouraged the government including LGUs to lead the procurement of local onion harvests. “Bumaba na ang retail price sa iba, tiyak na bumagsak na rin farmgate price ng sibuyas. Kailangan gumawa ng intervention ang gobyerno at bilhin nito ang sibuyas na ani ng ating mga magsasaka — bilhin sa sapat at makatarungang presyo,” according to KMP chairman emeritus Rafael Mariano.

“Immediately recall the importation order to prevent heavy losses and bankruptcy of our onion farmers. Onion farmers in Bayambang, Pangasinan said they rely on loans from banks and financiers for their production. “Maraming umiiyak na magsasaka. Marami kaming nalugi, hindi lang ako,” according to onion farmer Merly Gallardo.

“Farmers are already feeling the brunt of the DA’s importation order. The DA must find ways and means to procure the local harvest at a reasonable price to prevent unscrupulous traders from further exploiting our farmers. Kung kailangan mag-realign ng budget ang DA at mga LGU para bilhin ang sibuyas ng mga magsasaka, gawin nila,” Mariano said. It was revealed in a recent Senate hearing that traders are buying local onions at lower prices and selling them at five-fold profits.

“Store now, Sell later for local farmers”

Mariano also proposed to LGUs to consider implementing the “Store now, Sell later” scheme to help onion farmers. “Ilalagay muna ng LGU sa storage ang sibuyas ng mga magsasaka at saka ibebenta kapag maganda na ang presyo. Para makabawi man lang ang ating mga magsasaka. Kasi kung ngayon ilalabas ang lokal sibuyas, lugi talaga dahil sa imported,” Mariano said as he reiterated that production support and cash aid are also necessary to assist onion farmers.

KMP further called on the government to relentlessly pursue and prosecute illegal traders and smugglers who are behind the cartel that manipulated the supply and prices of onion that led to the onion price surge of P700 per kilo last month. “Mga lumang pangalan ng smugglers na naman ang lumabas — sina Leah Cruz, Manuel Tan, Jun Diamante, Andrew Chang. Mayroon pa mga bagong pangalan — sina Mike Ma, Gene Ang, at Beverly Peres. Walang nahuhuli at nakakasuhan.” ###

Images from Film Weekly.

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