N. Ecija onion farmers call on gov’t to stop importation

>> Friday, November 25, 2016

By Sheen Crisologo

BONGABON, Nueva Ecija — Over a thousand of onion farmers in this province marched Nov. 11 along  main streets of this municipality, reputed as the “Onion Capital of the Philippines,” to call on government to put a stop to massive importation which is now killing the livelihood of the local farmers.
Onion farmer Rodrigo Odon from Bayombong in Pangasinan who traveled together with 50 other farmers to join the rally said that importation is a burden that has caused a cut by more than 50 percent in the original price of locally-produced onions because of the competition with cheap imported onions.
The farmers noted that local onions are priced at P40 per kilo in order to earn, but imported onions are only P30 per kilo. The 10-peso gap is too much for local farmers to close in order to compete.
“We don’t know what will happen to us as onion farming is the only source of income we have to sustain the needs of our family,” said Odon, who argued that the local variety are better-quality onions.
                Israel Reguyal, president of Local Onion Growers for National Economic and Trade Cooperative, said the provincial government of Nueva Ecija recently declared that the supply of onions have already been exhausted. Reguyal said there are more than 400,000 bags of onions still stored in the cold storage facilities in Central Luzon areas including Metro Manila which can last until the next harvest season in January 2017.
“We are calling the attention of our President Rodrigo Duterte to help us revive the industry of onion farming in the country. More than 75% of the population of Bongabon, Nueva Ecija alone are onion farmers and because of the importation we are struggling for our living,” said Reguyal.


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