The Department of Agriculture (DA) has approved the importation of 21,060 metric tons (MT) of red and yellow onions as the retail prices of the products remain at the P600 per kilogram level.

The decision is meant to “address the supply gap prior to peak harvest in 2023 and to stabilize the continuous increase in price of fresh onions in the market,” said the DA via a memo signed by Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

The memo showed that around 17,100 MT of fresh red onions and 3,960 MT of fresh yellow onions will be imported.

According to the DA directive, the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) will resume on Jan. 9 and end on Jan. 13.

“One (1) SPSIC (25 MT/SPSIC) for fresh yellow and two (2) SPSICs (50 MT/SPSIC) for fresh red onion will be issued to licensed onion importers during the given issuance period,” the order read.

All eligible importers are allowed until Jan. 27 for their shipments to arrive in the country. The DA added that it would not allow any request for extension. 

Recently, retail prices of red onions skyrocketed to P700 per kilo. But four to five months ago, onion prices ranged from P120 to P170 a kilo.

DA deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez said the number of onions to be imported was according to the public demand while waiting for the peak harvest this year.

“Base naman sa pangangailangan ng tao na in the meantime na wala pa ‘yung peak harvest ng ating magsasaka. According to them, mag-peak ito ng mid-February at saka hanggang May,” Estoperez said in a public briefing.

“‘Yun lang naman ang binabantayan natin because we also have to protect also our onion growers,” he added.


Ronald Espartinez