THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said that the Philippines is set to export onions to Indonesia.

“The representative of the Indonesian market met with our onion producers and they are now looking at all of the requirements. I’m happy that the onion farmers from Mindoro, Cagayan Valley, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Iloilo came,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters recently.

“Depends on the engagements right now but the importers of Indonesia are willing [and] ready. They are asking for white and red onion, and shallots,” he said.

Mr. Piñol said that there is still no definite volume requirement from Indonesia. “Wala pang [There is still no] volume requirement from Indonesia, but our market coordinator in Jakarta N Mark Castro is arranging the presentation of samples,” he said in a text message sent to BusinessWorld.

N Mark Castro is a Jakarta-based Filipino investment and management consultant, who conducted the ground work in Indonesia and is connected with the possible importers.

According to data the Philippine Statistics Authority, onion production of during the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 1% to 9.32 thousand metric tons (MT). Ilocos Region accounted for the majority of production at 99.8%.

The department is also looking at building more cold storage facilities for onions amid forecasts that the domestic crop can meet 80% to 90% of demand by next year, by lending to cooperatives.

“We’re hoping to build about 8 to 10 units of cold storage facilities for next year solely for onions,” Mr. Piñol said. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang