THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) is still verifying conflicting data on the countrys available onion supply before issuing any importation permit, an official said on Wednesday.  

“We cannot figure out what is true. Many are saying that there are a lot of onions in the Philippines, many are saying that there are no onions in the Philippines,Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban said in a media briefing on Wednesday.  

For us, we will see if there is shortage of onion in the Philippines,” he said, noting that the department has yet to issue import permits for onions.   

He said the DA is making sure that there will be no repeat of the onion crisis last year when retail prices reached P500 to P700 per kilo in December.  

In a separate media briefing, Bureau of Plant Industry Spokesperson Jose Diego E. Roxas said they are also still determining the expected supply shortage and appropriate schedule for importation of both red and white onions.  

There are no exact figures in terms of metric tons of shortfall but based on historical data and the usual production months, there is an expected shortage by December,he said.  

He said the supply of white onions may be sufficient until July as the lean months or period after harvest is about to start.  

Mr. Roxas said importation will be undertaken in a calibrated manner to ensure sufficient supply while protecting local growers.   

On imposing a retail price ceiling, he said they are also still assessing how it will affect the income of stakeholders.   

The Bureau of Plant Industry, in coordination with the High Value Crops Program, we continuously monitor the production when it comes to commodities and we will base there for a proper decision,he said.  

As of Wednesday, the prevailing price of both local red and white onions ranged between P160-P200 per kilo, according to the DA’s price watch. There is no available data on the retail prices of imported red and white onions. Sheldeen Joy Talavera