MANILA, Philippines – Red onions imported from China and India have started to arrive to augment shortage in local supply as demand picks up during the yuletide season.
The Vegetable Importers and Exporters Association (VIEVA) told reporters over the weekend that the shipments would provide some relief to the red onion shortage experienced in the past two months.
December usually sees an uptick in red onion consumption in the Philippines due to the holidays. Filipinos consume an average of 7,000 to 8,000 metric tons (MT) of mixed red and white onions in a month.
“The importation is only good for 20 days. Just so that consumers will have something to go by until the early (onion) harvest starts coming in,” VIEVA President Leah Cruz said.
The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) approved the importation in late October but shipments started arriving in late November.
The BPI allowed the entry of 8,500 MT of imported Chinese and Indian red creole onions, about 65% of the estimated shortage of 12,400 MT.
Local harvest of shallots in December should be able to fill in the remaining 35% shortage, the Bureau said.
The entry of imported red onion stabilized prices to decline to P50 – P60 per kilo from a high of P130 per kilo in October to November.
The price of white onion is also stable at P35 to P45 per kilo while local shallots are at P30 to P50 per kilo.
Local shallots from the Ilocos Region have started coming in as early as the first week of December as a result of the early harvest program of the Agriculture Department.
However, the government said that December output of local shallots may not be enough to cover the shortage. As much as 240,000 kilos or 240 MT of shallots are expected to be produced from the shallot-producing provinces of Ilocos, General Santos, Saranggani and Siquijor. – Rappler.com