CONSUMERS continue to be pummeled by high prices of goods, basic or not, as the Department of Agriculture admitted on Wednesday that the prices of red onions reached as high as P720 per kilo.
The retail prices of rice, the main staple of Filipinos, also increased by P2 per kilo, the farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) said.
Sinag President Rosendo So said that regular milled rice costs P40 a kilo.
Based on the price watch of the Agriculture department in 13 markets in Metro Manila, red onions were sold between P700 and P720 per kilo at the New Las Piñas Public Market.
Based on the latest monitoring of the DA, red onions reached P580 to P700 per kilo at the Malabon Central Market in Malabon City; P550 to P650 per kilo at the Guadalupe Public Market in Makati City; P600 to P620 per kilo at the San Andres Market in Manila City; P600 to P650 per kilo at the Quinta Market in Manila City; P600 to P670 per kilo at Pritil Market in Manila City; P600 to P680 per kilo at Marikina Public Market in Marikina City; P500 to P580 per kilo at Pamilihang Lungsod ng Muntinlupa in Muntinlupa City; P520 to P550 per kilo at the Pasay City Market in Pasay City; P550 to P600 per kilo at the Pasig City Mega Market in Pasig City; P560 to P600 per kilo at Commonwealth Market in Quezon City; P500 to P580 per kilo at the Muñoz Market in Quezon City; and P550 to P600 per kilo at the Mega Q-Mart in Quezon City.
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Agriculture deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez stood firm on the DA’s decision not to import red onions despite the unabated spike in prices of the bulbs.
“We do not consider the importation. We are being careful in issuing permits for importation of onions amid the proliferation of smuggled onions,” Estoperez said.
Estoperez advised consumers to buy per piece to lessen the impact of the high prices.
“To be reasonable and practical, I know many will get angry at me, don’t buy per kilo. You should buy what you can afford for the meantime,” Estoperez said in a radio interview.
The official expects the price of onions to stabilize in January with the start of the peak harvest of the bulbs.
“We will see if this trend will continue, and then let’s decide,” Estoperez added.
“There is no importation, there is no smuggling; we celebrated the holiday season. There is a tight supply and its off-season causing the high prices,” he added.
Meanwhile, So said that rice prices also went up.
“There was a slight increase of P2 per kilo in the retail price of local rice from P38, it is now averaging at P40 per kilo,” he said in a radio interview.
Based on the price monitoring of the DA, the prevailing price of well milled rice at the New Las Piñas City Public Market was P40 per kilo; Guadalupe Public Market in Makati City, P44 per kilo; San Andres Market in Manila City, P44 per kilo; Quinta Market in Manila City, P42 per kilo; Pritil Market in Manila, P40 per kilo; Marikina Public Market in Marikina City, P42 per kilo; Pamilihang Lungsod ng Muntinlupa in Muntinlupa City, P43 per kilo; Pasay City Market in Pasay City, P40 per kilo; Pasay City Market in Pasay City, P40 per kilo; Pasig City Mega Market in Pasig City, P43 per kilo; Commonwealth Market in Quezon City, P40.00 per kilo; Muñoz Market in Quezon City, P38 per kilo; Mega Q-Market in Quezon City, P40 per kilo; and Malabon Central Market in Mabon City, P40 per kilo.
Former Agriculture secretary and Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) Board Chairman Leonardo Montemayor had said that retail prices of rice could increase by P2 to P4 per kilo in 2023.
So said that the DA should take steps to bring down the retail prices of sugar.
“The millers already requested a meeting with the DA to address the high retail prices of sugar,” he said.
So noted that the 150,000 imported refined sugar did not help bring down the prices of the sweetener.
The prevailing retail price of refined sugar is P95 per kilo, and washed sugar and brown sugar, P90 per kilo.
At the same time, So said that retail prices of chicken ranged from P180 per kilo and pork, from P300 to P310 per kilo.
“The farmgate price of chicken is at P125 per kilo while the liveweight price for pork is at P190 per kilo,” he said.
There was also an increase in the retail prices of bangus (milkfish).
The prevailing price of milkfish was P180 per kilo; tilapia, P140 per kilo; round scad, P240 per kilo; and Indian mackerel, P360 per kilo.
Meanwhile, farmers’ blamed the DA’s lack of foresight in curbing the spike in the prices of onions.
In a radio interview, PESA Onion and Vegetable Farmers Association Chairman Victor Layog said that importing onions should no longer be an option as the harvest of the bulbs had started.
“The DA was late in its action. The importation could have been done in August to ensure a steady supply until December,” Layog said.