A ranking official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Saturday warned traders that they will be charged with profiteering as retail prices of onions remained high despite farmgate price dropping to P120 per kilo.
In a radio interview, Agriculture Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Kristine Evangelista said that based on the inspection conducted on Friday at onion plantations in Nueva Ecija, farmers sell their harvest at P120 per kilo.
“Yesterday, the farmgate price (of onions) was only P120 kilo and we expect this to further go down as the harvest increases,” Evangelista said.
Evangelista added that the retail prices of the bulbs should range from P200 to P250 per kilo.
Based on the monitoring of the DA in Metro Manila markets, the retail price is still pegged between P320 and P450 per kilo.
“We have a law against profiteering. We are now discussing how much is the price to consider it as profiteering. It is now being discussed by the Adjudication Team (of the DA),” Evangelista added.
According to Evangelista, the DA is now coordinating with the market masters to inform them on the farmgate price of onions.
“We will inform our contacts in the markers that this is the farmgate price and this should be the prevailing price even if we don’t have an SRP (suggested retail price) and we will ask them the source of the bulbs,” Evangelista noted.
At the same time, Evangelista said that the DA is also considering the imposition of another SRP as she admitted there was zero compliance when P250 per kilo SRP was implemented from Dec. 28, 2022 to Jan. 7, 2023.
“The SRP ended on January 7, but nobody complied as the bottleneck at that time was the farmgate price. Based on our conversation with the vendors that time, they said, ‘how can we comply with the SRP when we bought the onions at P550 (per kilo)’,” Evangelista added.