Red onions from China, India offset supplies

Posted at 12/09/12 7:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Vegetable Importers and Exporters Association (VIEVA) said red onions from China and India have offset the lack of supplies ahead of the yuletide season.

“The importation is only good for twenty days. Just so that consumers will have something to go by until the early (onion) harvest starts coming in,” VIEVA president Leah Cruz told reporters.

She said the supply shortage has worried consumers for months now.

The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry allowed the red onion importation in late October, but shipments only started to come in late November.

The entry of imported red onion stabilized prices in the market. A kilo is now selling between P50 and P60 per kilo from a high of P130 per kilo in October and November.

The bureau noted that local harvests only cover 35% of the shortage. As much as 240,000 kilos or 240 metric tons (MT) of shallots are expected to be produced from the provinces of Ilocos, General Santos, Saranggani and Siquijor.

The country consumes an average of 7,000 to 8,000 MT of mixed red and white onions in a month. For December, however, this is expected to peak at 407 MT due to the Christmas season.

The harvest season for red onions is scheduled by January 2013.