By Eileen Mencias
Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban has authorized the importation of over 21,000 tons of onions to address the shortage that saw prices soaring to P600 per kilo.
Panganiban approved the importation of 3,950 metric tons of fresh yellow onions and 17,200 tons of fresh red onions.
The application for the sanitary phytosanitary import clearance (SPSIC) has been set from January 9 to 12.
Applications after the deadline will be rejected.
Licensed onion importers will be issued one import clearance good for 25 tons for fresh yellow onions and two import clearances for 50 metric tons of fresh red onions.
Panganiban said the import clearances would be equally distributed to all licensed importers.
The onion imports should arrive in the country by January 27. Shipments that arrive after that will have to be returned to their origin at the importers’ expense.
Importers can only use the ports of Manila-South Harbor, Subic, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro to bring in the onions to allow for stricter monitoring.
Those who fail to use their import clearance will no longer be eligible to apply for new SPSICs if a decision is made to issue them again.
Importers will be required to submit a liquidation report to the Bureau of Plant Industry detailing their distribution points, their buyers and the volume they bought, among others.
The imported onions should only be stored in an accredited cold storage facility.