Price of red onions eases in Mindanao markets
ILIGAN CITY — The price of red onions has started to ease in Mindanao after six weeks of constant increase, especially during the Christmas holidays, the price monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in key localities showed.
After peaking in the first and second weeks of January, the price of red onions in the Caraga, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos) and Northern Mindanao regions went down by the third week.
In Butuan City, Caraga’s regional capital, from P320 per kilo in the first week of December last year, the commodity was sold at P500 per kilo during Christmas week.
The price peaked at P700 per kilo by the first week of January before going down to P625 per kilo by the second week. Since last week, it has been sold at P600 per kilo.
Stable in Zamboanga
In Cagayan de Oro City, regional capital of Northern Mindanao, red onions were sold at P290 per kilo in the first week of December, then went up toward Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to between P440 and P480. The price peaked on Jan. 13 at P600 per kilo then went down to between P480 and P550 on Jan. 20.
In General Santos City, in the Soccsksargen region, the commodity was sold between P320 and P350 per kilo in the first week of December. The price peaked at P500 in the second week of this month before dropping to P400 starting last week.
The commodity’s price has remained practically stable in Zamboanga City at P280 to P340 per kilo since the first week of December.
But in other areas in western Mindanao or the Zamboanga Peninsula region, red onions continue to be pricey. In Zamboanga del Norte, the commodity sells at P700 to P800 per kilo in Dipolog City since last week, from only P320 to P340 per kilo in the first week of December.
In Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, red onions sell at P500 to P700 per kilo, from only P300 to P320 in the first week of December.
DA officials had yet to explain this pricing trend of red onions in the region.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, during a recent visit in Cagayan de Oro, told reporters that she believed the pricing of the commodity was a result of manipulation by unscrupulous businessmen.
“There is no shortage of onions,” Villar said.
Big traders buy onions cheap, then store these and wait for the time they would be able to drive prices up before they release their supply to the market, she said.
According to Villar, one way to arrest the situation is by helping farmers obtain storage facilities.
—REPORTS FROM RYAN D. ROSAURO AND JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
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