THE exorbitant cost of red onions can be blamed on the law of supply and demand, according to Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for the Visayas Salvador Diputado, who is in-charged with implementing the agency’s programs in Eastern, Central and Western Visayas.

Diputado said red onions that are selling for as much as P300 per kilo in the public markets have to be brought in from other parts of the country, since Cebu doesn’t grow them commercially.

He said prices will only go down if the government allows imported red onions to enter the Philippine market, but the DA is also worried that this might affect Filipino farmers.

“If the Philippines allows the entry of imported onions, then Filipinos will have access to cheaper onions since imported onions cost much less than locally produced onions. That’s one of the things we have to consider. While we understand the needs of the consumers, we also considered the situation of local farmers,” Diputado said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Cebu City Market Administrator Wynne Cenas said the cheapest red onions are selling for P290 per kilo at the Carbon Public

He agreed with the DA official that prices would go down if the country imported red onions.

SRP

Diputado said the DA’s suggested retail price (SRP) of P170 per kilo for red onions continues to be in effect until the agency comes up with a new SRP.

He explained that each local government unit has a local price coordinating council that recommends the SRP and submits this to the DA.

He said members of the local price coordinating council also monitor items on sale at public markets and go after vendors who overcharge.

Meanwhile, Diputado urged farmers in Cebu to plant crops that currently demand high prices and suit the province’s soil and climate.

He said crops like onions, garlic and ginger don’t need lots of water and can survive long periods of hot, dry weather. (PJB)