MANILA, Philippines — The militant group Anakpawis said on Tuesday the Duterte government has again promoted its liberalization of agriculture by approving more importation of onion, that is certain to cement the tombstone on the livelihood of Filipino onion farmers who are chronically facing depressed farm gate prices.
This, Anakpawis Party-list former Representative Ariel Casilao said on the reported approval of the importation of 35,000 metric tons of red onions from China.
Casilao added that local producers have already been distraught by depressed farmgate prices last year as brought about by importation, from the usual P30 to P45 per kilo down to P10 to P15 per kilo.
Top onion-producing provinces are Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur and Occidental Mindoro.
“The long-term solution for the limited supply of local onion is government support and not importation. Local farmers usually loan from usurers as cost per hectare reaches to as high as P150,000. For self-sufficiency and self-reliance, the government should promote local production, not importation,” he said as import-dependency on onion reached to as high as 52 percent in 2016, and in 2018 at 38.51 percent.
He said the mounting volume of importation will totally wipe out local production that will throw the country as full import-dependence on onions.
“We are already seeing the concrete results of the Duterte government’s liberalization policies in agriculture, in rice, galunggong, and now in onion. If these continue, the agriculture sector will be totally undermined and the consumers will be totally thrown into the control and domination of private traders and importers. Liberalization of the sector of food items destroys food security and will lead to hunger and poverty,” he said.
He urged the people to oppose the importation policies and support the call to support local onion farmers in the country. (CurrentPH/JGo)