PBBM banks on cold storage warehouses to stabilize onion prices

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday assured onion producers in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa) of the necessary state interventions like putting up cold storage facilities to stabilize the price of the agricultural product during peak harvest season.

The establishment of cold storage warehouses will benefit both onion growers and consumers, according to President Marcos. He made the assurance when asked about government actions to address production gluts that affect farmers.

“Ang talagang problema dahil nag-over produce tayo, bababa talaga ‘yung presyo pero para makabawi naman na hindi kailangan ipagbili kaagad ay ‘yung cold storage. Kaya’t maglalagay tayo ng cold storage at mayroon tayong bagong design na cold storage kasi naging problema talaga dito sa inyo ‘yung mahal ang kuryente, kaya’t ang solusyon diyan lalagyan lang natin ng solar power,” President Marcos said during a town hall consultation with farmers and fisherfolks in Brgy. San Roque in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

“’Yun talaga ‘yung kailangan para ‘yung presyo kasi pagka tag-araw, siyempre nag-aani tayo ng sibuyas, bababa, maraming supply, bababa ‘yung presyo. Pag may cold storage tayo hindi na kailangan ipagbili kaagad. Kung ano man lang ang kailangan, ano ‘yung demand, para pati na sa consumer, ‘yung presyo ay medyo pantay-pantay kahit tag-araw, tag-ulan,” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr., who was with the President in Mindoro for the townhall meeting, said the Department of Agriculture (DA) is currently establishing two cold storage facilities in Occidental Mindoro—one in San Jose and another in Magsaysay. Each cold storage will have a capacity of 1,400 tons.

Next year, the DA will build another five cold storage warehouses to be funded by this year’s budget, he added.

“Mayroon pa tayong matatanggap na suporta mula kay Presidente through DOF at DBM na maglaan ng maraming cold storage na solar,” said the DA chief.

“Baka ang target namin ay bumili ng 600 units eh na containerized cold storage na ibibigay sa bawat cooperative para makatulong sa pag-store ng mga harvest n’yo during peak season para maibenta n’yo later at hindi magsabay-sabay bumagsak sa merkado at bumagsak ang presyo ninyo,” he pointed out.

These are in addition to the Kadiwa centers being put up in Metro Manila, which will be the main market for Mindoro farmers selling their produce without dealing with middlemen that jack up prices, he said.

He said farmers and cooperatives will be given spaces at the said trading centers. They only have to spend for logistics to bring their products to the metropolis.

“‘Yung pagdala naman dun sa Metro Manila o sa merkado ng inyong mga onion at iba’t ibang produkto ay isa-subsidize ng Department of Agriculture para ma-maiximize niyo ‘yung kita niyo,” Laurel added.

Government data showed the Mimaropa Region leading onion production in the country. During the April to June 2023 quarter, it produced 46.94 thousand metric tons or 55.3 percent share to the total.

This was followed by Central Luzon with 23.66 thousand metric tons and Ilocos Region with 12.54 thousand metric tons. | PND