Department of Agriculture eyes 100% onion self-sufficiency before Duterte steps down
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing to achieve full self-sufficiency in onion production within President Rodrigo Duterte's term, after high yields produced enough crops to supply household consumption.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol made the statement in a Facebook post late Thursday, April 4, after reporting bulb onion production reached 70% of the national requirement midway into the Duterte Administration.
Citing Evelyn Laviña, Agriculture Undersecretary and head of the High-Value Crops Program, Piñol said the DA's Production Loan Easy Access program helped the expansion of areas for onion farming.
These areas were in "Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Mindoro, Iloilo and some parts of Mindanao where farmers are starting to plant in small areas," Piñol added.
The DA added onions were now planted in former tobacco fields in Occidental Mindoro. (READ: P300-million loan facility set for Occidental Mindoro onion farmers)
However, high production caused farm gate prices to drop from P30 per kilogram (kg) to around P12 per kg.
Aside from this, the agriculture department also suspects a cartel is barring farmers from storing extra crops for the lean season, forcing farmers to sell their crops at a lower price instead of letting it spoil. (READ: Antitrust body to aid DA in onion cartel probe)