THE Philippines’ Agriculture department said on Friday it will issue permits allowing the private sector to import as much as 21,000 tons of fresh onions to prevent prices from rising.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said imports will ensure ample supply during the holiday season and prevent a repeat of last year when onion prices hit one and a half times that of pork.

Traders can import up to 17,000 tons of fresh red onion and 4,000 tons of fresh yellow onion from China, India, and the Netherlands, the DA said.

The imports should arrive by end-December, serving as a buffer ahead of the March to April 2024 domestic harvest season, it added.

The cost of onions, a mainstay in almost all Philippine dishes, surged 10 times above usual prices from April to December last year, driven by import delays.—Reuters