DA: 100,000 MT onions lost in 2022 due to lack of cold storage, improper handling

The Department of Agriculture has recorded the loss of some 100,000 metric tons of onions in 2022, a news release on the department’s website indicated.advertisement

According to the DA, a thirty-five percent loss was “noted after harvest due to lack of facilities such as cold storages and improper handling.”

A total of 283,172 MT of red and yellow onions and shallots were harvested from almost 30,000 hectares of production area.

The DA said the monthly requirement was posted at 21,679 MT.

The figures were posted amid supply constraint issues hounding the commodity, which caused its prices to skyrocket to several hundred per kilo in December.

The Agriculture Department said that other factors affecting the price and supply of the commodity are the increase in the price of production inputs, including fertilizers and seed; low level of mechanization and high labor cost; expensive marketing and distribution scheme; limited access to credit facilities; and inconsistencies in information.

To address the issues of the onion industry, the DA said it is set to launch the Optimization and Resiliency In the Onion Industry Network (ORION) Program.

The ORION program is aimed to support the local onion industry as well as increase the production and income of onion stakeholders in the country.

The DA said ORION seeks to promote a competitive, resilient, and profitable onion industry providing high quality, safe, affordable, and sustainable supply of onion to meet increasing domestic demand.

During its implementation, it will improve the productivity and efficiency of onion plantations through Philippine Good Agricultural Practices (PhilGAP) certification, reduce pre and post-harvest losses, improve product distribution and logistics, and ensure sustainable supply in the local market, according to the agency.

Among the strategies and programs that will be carried out is providing easy access credit loans, which may be used for the purchase of equipment and establishment of facilities, the DA said.

Farmer clusters and associations will also be organized for production and market integration, it added.

Also under ORION, innovative farming technologies will be pushed as well as value-adding processes to maximize production and income.

The DA said it will also lead regulatory activities, and push for the creation of a national information database that ensures updated and relevant data on production and marketing.

The department said it will continue to carry out an intensified distribution scheme for production and marketing support, to allow the sector to grow and profit. —NB, GMA Integrated News

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