Philippines mulling to export yellow onions-A A +A
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
THE Philippines is targeting to export yellow onions to other countries, starting with Japan, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday.
The DA, in partnering with the National Onion Growers Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc. (Nogrocoma), has shipped 20 metric tons of yellow granex onions to Japan last Saturday at the Manila Harbor Center.
The onions were harvested from Bongabon, Nueva Ecija, considered as the country's onion capital, and loaded in a 20-foot container van bound for Osaka, Japan. The shipment was expected to arrive in Japan on Wednesday.
"If the initial shipment conforms to the quality standards and accepted by the Japanese market, it would pave the way to further boosting our onion industry, and providing our farmers assured market and income, not only in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija, but also in other onion-growing areas in the country," Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.
The trial shipment was a result of a research funded by the DA High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) through the Bureau of Agricultural Research, called "Enhancing the productivity of yellow onion towards commercialization for the export market." Under the project, Bongabon farmers were trained to produce cost-efficient, export-quality onions using quality seeds and modern production technologies.
Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup said it has long been the vision of the DA to train and empower farmers so they can export, not only onions, but other vegetables and agricultural commodities as well.
For her part, Nogrocoma chief executive officer Dulce Gozon said if the trial shipment to Japan were successful, the country may start exporting yellow onions again after 13 years.
She said the country's onion industry suffered a slump in the 1990s due to the influx of cheaper smuggled onions that eased out local onions in the domestic market.
With the revival of yellow onion exports, more farmers in Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Occidental Mindoro and other provinces would be encouraged to plant yellow granex and earn more income, Gozon said.
Last year, the country produced a total of 124,830 metric tons (MT) of onions, worth P3.9 billion in current prices. Of this volume, yellow onions comprise approximately 15 percent of total production, Gozon said. The rest, approximately, are red onions (55 percent) and shallots (30 percent). (SDR/Sunnex)