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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Onion sale at Kadiwa temporarily halted

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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) temporarily stopped the sale of P170-per-kilogram onion in its Kadiwa stores after its memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) expired recently.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Kristine Y. Evangelista said the DA’s MOA with FTI expired last December 31 and the department had to dispose of the remaining supplies under the old agreement in the past weeks.

Evangelista said the DA is still studying the possibility of renewing its partnership with FTI through a supplemental MOA.

The halt to the sale of cheaper onions in Kadiwa stories comes a few days after the Ombudsman opened an investigation regarding the alleged overpriced purchase by DA and FTI of onions from a local multipurpose cooperative.

“We will work on that,” Evangelista told reporters on Thursday when asked how soon the Kadiwa onion stocks would be replenished.

“We will help our consumers as long as we do not see the onion prices hitting below our target. This will be discussed with FTI,” Evangelista added.

Evangelista explained that they expect onion prices to be cheaper in the coming weeks due to the arrival of imported stocks and upcoming local harvest.

Nonetheless, Evangelista disclosed that the DA is also exhausting all possible options to restock onion in Kadiwa stores through the “most prudent” way.

“We are exploring all options, whichever would be the best to have the stocks replenished, the soonest and the most prudent way,” she said.

The retail price of local red onion has consistently declined in recent days after the agriculture department announced that it has authorized the importation of 21,060 metric tons (MT) of onions last Monday. Based on its latest price monitoring report, the DA said the retail price of local red onion in Metro Manila wet markets is now ranging between P340 and P550 per kilogram, which used to be as much as over P700 per kilogram.

The DA explained that its Kadiwa stores have been selling the P170-per-kilogram onions since the issuance of the DA Administrative Circular No. 9 dated October 7, 2022, which sets the suggested retail price of medium-sized red onions in NCR wet markets at P170 per kilogram.

The native onions currently sold at the Kadiwa outlets are supplied by farmers from Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Tarlac, it added.

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