Philippines wants to end the onion crisis

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A cat sleeps next to red onions with a price board at a stall at a main market, on the day President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the island nation's finance minister, presents the annual budget in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 13, 2023. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

To prevent a recurrence of the significant price hike experienced earlier this year, the Philippines is set to import a substantial quantity of onions. The Bureau of Plant Industry announced on Friday that import licenses will be granted to private companies, allowing them to bring in 21,000 tonnes of onions before the year ends. This initiative aims to ensure an abundant supply, particularly with an anticipated surge in demand during the holiday season.

The import strategy is designed to reassure the public that there will not be a repeat of the previously observed exorbitant price increases, as highlighted by the agency. The Philippines had resorted to onion imports earlier in the year due to a surge in prices caused by a scarcity that emerged in late 2022. The country typically consumes around 17,000 tonnes of onions each month.

The issued licenses will cover the importation of 17,000 tonnes of red onions and 4,000 tonnes of the yellow variety from countries such as China, India, and the Netherlands, as outlined by the agriculture agency. This imported volume is intended to act as a buffer, stabilizing domestic prices before the peak harvest season in March and April.

 

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