Nueva Ecija onion farmers seek gov’t help amid low prices
SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija – Onion farmers in this province have sought the help of the government amid low prices of their produce with the top quality pegged at only P15 to P16 per kilo.
Former 2nd district board member and farmer leader Joseph Ortiz said traders would always question the quality of their onions in apparent reluctance to give them a good price.
“Kapag malaki sasabihin oversized, kapag maliit sasabihin na reject(If the onion bulb is big, the traders say it is oversized and when it is small, they say, it is reject,” Ortiz said, adding that some frustrated farmers in this city would just leave their produce as garbage by the roadside.
Oversized bulbs are priced at only P12 to P15 per kilo, farmers lamented.
“Pangulong Duterte tulungan nyo po kami (President Duterte help us),” Ortiz, himself an onion farmer, said.
Camilo de Guzman, 54, a farmer from Barangay Sapangbuho, Palayan City, said they learned that imported onions are flooding the market.
He said they tried to defer harvesting of their onions but had to harvest them after a few days as farm gate prices continue to drop.
“Wala na po kaming mapagpipilian kundi bunutin para bumalik lang po yung ibang puhunan (We have no choice but to harvest the onions so that part of our investment would return),” he said.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) said at least 21,086 farmers have planted onions on a total of 11,502.84 hectares in 22 towns and cities of Nueva Ecija this year.
This municipality, dubbed as the “Onion Capital of the Philippines”, has 2,319.10 hectares planted with the red shallot variety; 590 hectares planted with yellow granex; and 1,679.45 hectares planted with red creole.
De Guzman said he spends an average of P130,000, borrowed from a capitalist, for one hectare of onion.
To gain profit, his produce must be sold at P30 per kilo, he said. (PNA)