Incentives offered to onion farmers

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) is offering loan package to farmers who will opt to plant red onions in the region.

Following the positive results of the pilot farms in the region, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a statement that they will begin educating the farmers on how to plant onion. “Those who will participate in the program will be given a P25,000 per hectare loan under the production loan easy access of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council,” Piñol said.

The regional office of DA has developed pilot farms in Davao Region as way to boost production of red onions.

Piñol said the three pilot farms already produced an average yield of 10 metric tons of red onions per hectare. This, he said, was a result after he instructed DA XI regional director Ricardo Oñate Jr. last year.
“It was a first step to explore new areas to grow onion, an important commodity in Philippine cuisine,” Piñol said.

As of July 14, Mr. Oñate told Piñol that it was planted in open range with moderate application of a mix of organic fertilizer. The regional office of DA also observed that it is viable in the region as it was able to adapt to the region’s soil and climactic conditions.

The Philippine Statistics Authority recorded no available data in 2015 and last year in terms on the volume of production of onions.

Piñol hoped that the production will improve and reduce the country’s dependence on importing red and yellow bulb onions. “Filipino farmers mostly in Luzon and Mindoro only produce 30% of the onion supply requirement of the country. Most of the supply comes from China and India,” Piñol said.

“While farmers in Luzon could only plant onion once a year as an off season alternative crop to rice, Mindanao farmers could grow it twice a year because of favorable climate,” Piñol added.

The DA XI reported that it is best to have modern farming technology like drip irrigation and mulching to increase the yield. The DA will also set up a cold storage facility in the region within the year.

Piñol said this is anchored on the goal to boost onion production. “The DA has crafted a five-year onion and garlic development program, which aims to produce 80% of the onion and 50% of the garlic requirements of the country by 2022,” he said.

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