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DA chief extends importation ban on onions

MANILA: Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. on Monday said the agency is set to extend the existing importation ban on onion as the supply of the agricultural product remains stable. The DA earlier projected onion harvest output of 89,384.99 metric tons (MT) from April to June, higher than the 84,903.99 MT recorded in the same period last year. "Ie-extend natin 'yung ban sa onion importation. Puno ang mga cold storages sa onion producing areas. Mababa naman ang presyo sa merkado (we will extend the ban in onion importation. Cold storages in onion-producing areas are full. The prices in the market are low), so there's no reason to import,' Laurel said in an ambush interview during the flag raising ceremony held at DA Central Office. Laurel said the supply of onion may be enough until July this year. Since being appointed as DA chief, Laurel said he monitors the prices of agricultural products in different public markets around the country. 'Maayos naman ang presyo ng onion ng ayon e. Sa Balintawak ang latest figures ko, PHP60, PHP70 (per kilo) ang pula, ang puti PHP60. Nung pumasok ako sa DA that time mga PHP140, PHP120, so stable naman (The price of onion is good. In Balintawak, my latest figures are PHP60, PHP70/kg for red onions, white onion is at PHP60. When I entered DA, it was PHP140, PHP120 at that time, so it's stable),' he said. Laurel assured that DA would reactivate onion importation 'only if needed,' or when they monitor a spike in prices. According to a recent demand survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority, a Filipino consumes an average of 2.341 kilograms of onions per year. Source: Philippines News Agency