Home Headlines Onion price surge not benefiting farmers

Onion price surge not benefiting farmers

Onion farmer Gerardo Pascua tends irrigation of his farm. Photo: Armand M. Galang

BONGABON, Nueva Ecija – If there are people who profit from the price surge in onions reaching as high as P300 a kilo, it’s definitely not Gerardo Pascua and fellow small onion farmers in this municipality, known to be the onion basket of the Philippines.

The 58-year-old farmer from Barangay Lusok here who was tending irrigation for his just sprouting onion crop in a 6,000-square meter area on Wednesday said farmers had had their last harvest in March and April of this year and only a few of them afforded to stock produce in cold storage facilities in Palayan City. 

Pascua said he was lucky to have sold his produce, red onions, at P1,700 per bag last September or roughly P60/ kilo but had to spend a sum for storage fee.

“Kaya lang maganda sana ang presyo noon pero sobrang mababa ang ani dahil napag-uulan ang tanim namin,” he said. “Yung magsasaka ay wala na, kasi ay bihira po ‘yung magsasaka na nagi-storage maliban na lang po yung may mga bukid na nagpapasaka sa mga tao.”

Pascua said he has to spend at least P100,000 for his 6,000 sqm farm owing to skyrocketing prices of fertilizer that was pegged at P2,500 a bag, pesticides, diesel and seeds. He usually applies 13 bags of urea to that area.

Aside from red creoles, local farmers also plant yellow grannex and red shallots.

In 2019, more than 2,300 hectares of farmland here were planted with onion, according to recent reports from the municipal agriculture office. It was down to 1,376.84 hectares in 2020 as some farmers got tired of losing from the crops.

Pascua confirmed it saying several farmers in the village have already shifted to corn. He believed onions are now in the hands of huge traders.

In September this year, 3rd District Rep. Rosanna Vergara filed House Bill 3110 of “Onion Industry Development Act” which seeks to establish a Philippine Onion Research and Development Center to help alleviate the plight of onion farmers. The district covers the onion producing municipalities of the province. 

The measure, she said, was aimed at extending assistance to other farmers who also rely on onion-growing for a living for their families.  

The R&D center, she said, will promote producing ang marketing onion and holding of training programs for onion farmers.


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