The Department of Agriculture (DA) will build six cold storage facilities in four onion-producing regions starting this year in support of local farmers.
Each facility with a capacity of 20,000 bags will cost up to PHP40 million and will rise in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Mimaropa regions.
“Tayuan po ng mga storage facility nang sa gayon during peak season ng harvest, malagyan na. Hindi po sagot angimportation. Napakalaking potensyal po ng lugar namin (Let’s build storage facilities so that during peak harvest season, we can utilize it. Importation is not the answer. Our place has a big potential),” San Jose, Occidental Mindoro agriculturist Romel Calingasan told a Senate hearing on Monday.
Two cold storage facilities will be built in Occidental Mindoro but Calisangan raised concerns over the locations.
For instance, a planned facility in Rizal town is about 16 to 20 kilometers away from San Jose, the largest onion-producing area in the province.
The other planned site in Sablayan is farther at 97 kilometers.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the concurrent DA chief, previously reiterated the need to support farmers, insisting that importation should not be a long-term response to protect farmers and benefit consumers with lower commodity prices.
“We have to go back to the onion growers and help them so that we can have production, we don’t need to import. We became so used to importation… When we take supplies from abroad, its inflationary forces are also being brought to the Philippines,” he said.In March 2022, the DA turned over two cold onion storage facilities, with capacity of 10,000 and 20,000 bags, respectively. to farmers of Valiant Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Barangay Marcos Village, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, and a PHP20-million facility to the Sapang Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Moncada, Tarlac. PNA