DA sets SRP for red onions at ₱250/kg

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 29) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday set the suggested retail price (SRP) for red onions at ₱250 per kilogram as the cost of the commodity continued to shoot up.

The SRP is higher than the earlier recommended ₱170/kg set by the DA in October.

Prices of red onions peaked at ₱720/kg this week - seven times more expensive than half a year ago.

The DA earlier said it suspects a syndicate is hoarding red onions - causing a surge in prices.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who's also DA secretary, said the government is looking at selling smuggled onions in markets to increase the supply and address the skyrocketing prices.

Federation of Free Farmers Board Chairman Leonardo Montemayor, however, warned against selling smuggled commodities due to safety risks.

"Kapag smuggled yan, hindi yan dumaan sa sanitary standard, quarantine - at hindi natin alam baka may dalang sakit yan na makakasama sa sa kalusugan ng tao o di kaya may dala-dalang mga peste that can afflict our onions as well other farm products," Montemayor told CNN Philippines' The Final Word.

"For me, it's better na sirain yan, sunugin or ibalik sa country of origin yang mga smuggled commodities na yan," he added.

[Translation: If those are smuggled, they did not pass through sanitary standard, quarantine - and we don't know if they're contaminated or have pests that can afflict our onions as well other farm products. For me, it's better to just destroy or burn them, or return the smuggled commodities to the country of origin.]

The DA earlier tried to sell 100,000 kilograms of smuggled onions in Kadiwa markets. However, this did not pan out as it was determined that the stocks were deemed not safe for consumption

The agency said the ₱250/kg SRP will be in effect until the first week of January next year, and will be subject to another round of consultations with stakeholders.

"Kaya bang ipatupad ng pamahalaan yang SRP, whether its ₱250 or some other price?" Montemayor asked.

"Kung wala naman proper enforcement, it will not have much of an effect," he said.

[Translation: Can the administration enforce that SRP, whether it's ₱250 or some other price? If there is no proper enforcement, it will not have much of an effect.]