Onion prices down to P300 per kilo from P800 in Cebu

The price of onions in Cebu has dropped. From a high of as much as P700 per kilo for red onions last December, it hovers at P300, as of Wednesday, February 1, 2023. (Amper Campaña)
The price of onions in Cebu has dropped. From a high of as much as P700 per kilo for red onions last December, it hovers at P300, as of Wednesday, February 1, 2023. (Amper Campaña)

THE price of onions in Cebu has dropped by more than 50 percent.

From a high of as much as P800 per kilo for red onions last December, it hovered at P300 on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.

This is despite the fact that the supply of imported onions has not arrived in Cebu, according to Department of Agriculture (DA) Visayas Assistant Secretary Salvador Diputado.

Diputado said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved the importation of 21,060 metric tons of onions early last month with the condition that these should arrive in the country on or before Jan. 27.

However, according to the DA official, barely half of the shipment arrived and most of these were distributed in the National Capital Region.

“Not all the imported onions arrived, partial only. Other importers ordered, but some of their onions did not arrive. So the local requirement has not been completely answered, which is why the price of onions is still an issue but onions are no longer as expensive compared to in the last few months,” he said in Cebuano.

Diputado said the current price is still a far cry from the P100 per kilo before the “onion crisis” began.

Rosita Casipong, a member of the Allied of Energetic Vendors Association Inc. in Cebu City, said onions that used to sell for P650 per kilo last December and during the first week of January are now selling for P320 per kilo at the Carbon Public Market.

In Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, the price of red onion hit P800 per kilo in December.


In Mandaue City, prices of white and red onions at the Mandaue City Public Market (MCPM) have also dropped by at least P300 from their December highs.

The decrease was observed during the last two weeks of January, Cesar Mercadal, MCPM officer in charge and market supervisor, told SunStar Cebu Wednesday.

Mercadal said red onions are now sold for P320 to P340 per kilo while white onions now go for P200 to P300 per kilo, a decrease of almost 50 percent from when both were sold at around P700 per kilo last December.

Why the hike

Prices of onion, particularly the red ones, started soaring around November, when a local red onion was sold for P250 per kilo in public markets from P180 in October.

Danilo Fausto, president of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), said the onion price hike was normal due to its then recent tight supply.

Fausto explained that red onions are typically at their peak for large volume harvest around mid- to late summer or the months of February, March and April.

It then goes through a lean season, or the period when planting and harvesting are scarce from June to December. But he did not discount the possibility that some onion traders had taken advantage of the situation by hoarding their stocks, resulting in the shortage of the vegetable.

For its part, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it was looking in two areas for the increase—agricultural smuggling and price manipulation--stressing that a syndicate is hoarding red onions, causing prices of the commodity to rise. It will have this investigated.

In Mandaue City, Mercadal said onion prices peaked during the holiday season when the prices of both the white and red ones rose to P750 per kilo.

MCPM has about 700 commodity stalls, where about 115 are vegetable sections.


Among their interventions to help regulate the onion price is ensuring that their suppliers are accredited and registered and conducting daily price monitoring through their price monitoring board, he said.

They also post an updated price list every day through their giant LED screen situated at the entrance before entering the market.

“We, as much as possible, encourage them (vendors) to follow the SRP (suggested retail price) at P250 provided by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), but the prices vary, depending on how much the suppliers charge them,” said Mercadal.

“We get our supply from Carbon Public Market, so if they increase their prices, we also do the same,” he added.


Onion prices have also dropped significantly in the Lapu-Lapu City Public Market.

Maria Elena Caballes, the city’s public market administrator, told SunStar Cebu Wednesday that local red onions are now sold at the market for around P350 per kilo compared to P650 per kilo last December.

She said white onions are now sold for around P300 per kilo.

She said white onions were sold for P600 per kilo in December until the price dropped to P500 early in January. (PAC / PJB, HIC, MKG)


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