Farmers Lamented Onions Exploitation: Buys at P8/kg, sold at P700 in NCR

Farmers Air Dismay to Traders Onions Exploitation of Prices in NCR

Farmers in Occidental Mindoro are shaking in frustration as a result of traders undue exploitation of onions prices in Manila.

Farmers were ‘disappointed’ with traders, according to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro municipal agriculturist Romel Calingasan, who testified before the Senate inquiry. This was after discovering that the onions they were selling at the farm gate for P8 to P15 per kilo during the production season were selling for around P700 per kilo in Metro Manila towards the end of the year.

“Yung presyo na pinag-uusapan po natin ngayon na nag-raise po [sa] P650 to P700 sa merkado, ‘yan po ay binili lamang po sa mga magsasaka ng San Jose, Occidental Mindoro ng P8 to 15 during harvest season.. . ‘nung buwan po ng March to April,” said Calingasan to the senators.

“Kaya talaga pong ganon na lang ang pagkadismaya ng aming mga magsasaka…dahil po sobrang taas po ang naging presyo ng sibuyas. Sobrang pinagsamantalahan po ang presyo ng sibuyas,” Calingasan added.

Farmers Onions Exploitation

Calingasan went on to say that farmers will be classified as purchasers in the latter half of 2022 since they were obliged to acquire onions at higher costs due to a scarcity of storage facilities in the province and Metro Manila.

He stated that farmers were able to cultivate onions on 3,485 hectares of land last year, but less than 5% of their products could be accommodated in storage facilities. Farmers, he claims, have little choice but to sell 95% of their produce to traders as a result.

During the same session, senators learned that five onion farmers in Bayambang, Pangasinan, end life owing to financial difficulties, based on the report. Merly, the wife of one of the farmers who died last year, was accompanied by Elvin Jerome Laceda, national president of the Young Farmers Challenge Club of the Philippines, Inc.

“Last year po dahil nalugi ang kanilang farm, nagsuicide po ang kanyang asawa. Milyon-milyon ang utang nila dahil don sa harabas (army worm). Ngayon pa lang po sila nakabawi pero dahil may importasyon po, wala pang 100 days ang kanilang onions po, kailangan nang i-harvest 85 to 90 days,” said Laceda.

“Yung istorya ni nanay sana hindi na po maulit sa ibang magsasaka. Lima na magsasaka po ang nagsuicide sa barangay nila,” he added.

Laceda also urged the officials present at the Senate hearing to purchase agricultural products at a price that benefits both farmers and consumers. Meanwhile, Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla stated at the same hearing that after the local harvesting season, the price of onions may fall to P120 to P150 per kilo.

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