ONION farmers were able to directly sell about P2.589 million worth of their harvests to consumers and institutional buyers through with assistance from government, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.
In a statement, the DA said farmer cooperatives and associations were able to market 3,478 kilograms of red onions worth P755,455 and 5,106.38 kilograms of white onions worth P1.833 million from Sept. 2022 to Jan. 24, 2023.
The DA said their intervention helped the farmers earn more as there were no middle men involved.
Onion prices shot up to as much as P700 per kilo in recent months, prompting congressional investigations where some farmers said traders actually bought their supply at farm gate prices of P8 to P15.
The onion controversy has also raised issues on importation and smuggling.
Meanwhile, the DA said trucks and vans under the Kadiwa program helped farmers in “hauling and delivery to markets and big buyers.”
The government’s Kadiwa program involves linking farmers directly to consumers through pop-up markets in different parts of the country.
“Logistics is actually a big help, the Kadiwa [trucks] helped in logistics,” Elvin Jerome A. Laceda, founder of RiceUp and chief operating officer of Sakahon farmer’s enterprises, is quoted in the statement.
The Agriculture department awarded a P1.325-million four-wheel truck to RiceUp in Pampanga in 2022.
Through agritech solutions company Sakahon, Mr. Laceda and his team aim to establish a system where farmers get information on market demand before planting.
Mr. Laceda added that giving farmers access to capital and storage facilities will help boost the agriculture sector. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera