Gov’t ‘to cut out the middleman’ to bring onion prices down

To bring down the retail prices of onions, the Department of Agriculture on Saturday said it is focusing on eliminating the many layers of traders that trigger the high cost of commodities.

“Right now, what we are doing is to eliminate certain layers of traders because that will help bring down the price. As we all know, retail price includes the cost of biyahero (trader) and the cost of the retailer,” said Agriculture Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Kristine Evangelista during a news forum at Dapo Restobar in Quezon City.

“At the same time, we are trying to link our farmers directly to the retailers and the markets. Pag mas mura ng kuha ng mga retailers, mas mura ang presyo sa palengke (If the retailers get produce at a cheaper price, the prices in the market will also be cheaper),” she said.

The DA official announced the retail prices of onion in wet markets remain relatively high at P400–P550 per kilo.

Besides strengthening the market linkage between the producers and the consumers, Evangelista said the DA is also looking if there are other bottlenecks in the supply chain, and likewise capacitating farmers’ cooperatives to take on the role of the middlemen.

This week, the DA approved the importation of 21,060 metric tons of onions, and set a Jan. 27 deadline for all eligible importers for their shipments to arrive.

The importation of onion is meant to arrest the price surges of the commodity in the local markets ahead of the peak of harvest season expected by mid-February.

Local onion growers are expecting to harvest by February and until April. (PNA)