DA eyes expansion of onion production in CL

Local News Official
Local News OfficialSunStar File Photo

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Central Luzon plans to expand its onion production.

From the initial 4,000 hectares, the agency said an additional 2,000 hectares of land will be used in growing onions.

Learning from the recent onion shortages and the recurring problem of armyworm infestation, the DA is doubling its efforts to expand areas and boost onion production in Nueva Ecija with new production areas that are not traditionally planted with onions, making them less susceptible to infestation.

DA Regional Director Eduardo L. Lapuz, Jr. stated that the expansion areas in other provinces will complement the onion production from Nueva Ecija.

Nueva Ecija is the region’s number one onion-producing province, with a projected nationwide volume production of 300,000 metric tons for 2024. Its production area is currently at 10,500 hectares.

Lapuz said that expanding to other provinces provides a safety net for onion production, addressing the need for a responsive pest control management system.

The DA initiated an expansion of 4,000 hectares in the provinces of Tarlac and Pampanga.

Expansion Areas

The DA, through its High-Value Crops Development Program, introduced onion production in Bacolor town in Pampanga in July 2023.

Farmers in the town initially targeted expanding a total of 50 hectares for red and yellow onions.

In Tarlac, the DA started its expansion program a few years earlier.

The Sapang Multipurpose Cooperative in Moncada town was among the groups that participated in the expansion program of 20 hectares in 2005.

As of 2021, some 1,900 hectares have been planted by 820 farmers. These areas produce both yellow and red onions.

In March this year, the New Hermosa Farmers Association (NHFA) in Bataan received a P38 million, 20,000-bag capacity onion cold storage facility to store to onions produced in the province.

The land area of the NHFA is more than 86 hectares, with 21 farmers as members.

The Province of Bataan is one of the areas in Central Luzon considered for onion production expansion, which began in other municipalities through an Onion Technology Demonstration established in the City of Balanga in 2018.

Lapuz said that production in the new expansion areas has yielded a positive 1.2 metric tons per hectare, almost close to the 1.3 metric tons per hectare in Nueva Ecija.

He said DA spent some P10 million in the new expansion areas on seeds, training, and fertilizer assistance.

With a vibrant farm gate price of P80 to P90 per kilo as of June this year, farmers stand to earn some P100,000 per hectare of red onions.

Enhanced Confidence in Planting

To encourage more farmers to continue production, Lapuz said DA has been doubling efforts to establish cold storage facilities to ensure that onions produced can be stored until the lean months.

This year, DA led the groundbreaking for the 20,000-bag capacity onion cold storage facilities for Bacolor town in Pampanga and more in Nueva Ecija.

The DA is optimistic that with facilities in place, more farmers will continue to plant and expand production.

“There is confidence to plant when our farmers know that there are facilities in place to cater to their products,” Lapuz said, adding that Central Luzon remains the country’s number one onion producer.

Onion production in 2023 amounted to 138,028 metric tons, a five percent increase from the production in 2022 of 131,548 metric tons.

Central Luzon’s production contributed 55 percent to the total national supply of onions in 2023.

The sufficiency level of onions in the country is currently at 336 percent.

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