DA to lift controls on onion imports to force prices lower

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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will suspend special safeguards (SSG) on onion imports to stabilize prices.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters on Thursday that the SSG will be lifted in two weeks to allow onion sellers to deplete their remaining stock.

“Two weeks from now we’re expecting the price for imported onion to go down.”

According to DA data, the landed cost of onion is around P33 per kg. An SSG can be invoked at a trigger price of P74.21 per kg, to protect domestic farmers.

The DA also estimates the prevailing price of red onion in Metro Manila at P100 per kg as of Aug. 22, up P10 higher from a month earlier, while white onion was at P120, up P40.

In a letter addressed to Customs Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña, the DA said that the temporary lifting of the SSG will “cushion the impact of rising prices and mitigate the impact of soaring inflation.”

He also noted that chicken prices of P120 per kg are still high and have failed to mirror the decline in farmgate prices to P70 from P90. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato