The municipal agriculturist of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro couldn’t hide his disappointment with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for allegedly forsaking them amid the onion shortage in the country.
According to Romel Calingasan, DA still authorized the importation of 21,000 metric tons of onions despite the harvest season in their province.
Calingasan claimed that their onions are now left to rot and some farmers were forced to sell their onions to the middlemen for eight to fifteen pesos per kilo and resell them to Metro Manila and other cities for P600.
“‘Yung mga binebenta po sa merkado sa kasalukuyan, at nung buwan ng September hanggang December, ‘yan po ang sinasabi ko na binili sa mga magsasaka namin sa Occidental Mindoro ng P8 to P15 lang per kilo,” Calingasan said.
He also said that Occidental Mindoro’s onion harvest was enough to meet the demand for the said basic ingredient in the country.
“Dapat po ay protektahan kami doon sa San Jose, Occidental Mindoro ‘yun lang po ang hinihiling namin. Wag na po nating pag-usapan ‘yung presyong 250 , 300, basta wag lang lalayo ng P100 pesos sa buwan ng March at April as Occidental Mindoro, lahat ng kailangan na sibuyas sa buong Pilipinas kaya po namin,” he said.
Because of the treatment being received by the farmers in their province, Calingasan believed some farmers were surely losing their investments.
The lack of storage facilities also contributed to the suffering of the farmers.
“Kaya kung nabalitaan nyo po yung nangyari sa’min, marami pong mga sibuyas ang nagkandabulukan, itinapon sa mga tabi ng kalsada, sa mga gilid ng ilog na kung saan talagang sobra pong panghihinayang ang amin pong naramdaman kasi po talagang pinagkagastusan ng aming magsasaka ‘yan,” he said.
“Tayuan po ng mga storage facility nang sa gayon during peak season ng harvest, malagyan na. Hindi po sagot ang importation. Napakalaking potensyal po ng lugar namin,” he added.
DA responded to Calingasan saying that they’re now planning to build cold storage facilities in the province.