BAYAMBANG —First the good news. Farmers in this Onion Capital of Pangasinan enjoy bumper harvest. The bad news: traders are buyng their produce at a low price because of the glut in the market.
Mayor Cezar Quiambao said, “ They did not perhaps suffer losses but their profit is low unlike in the past when farmers hit the jackpot because of high price,” he said, adding that the price of onion is erratic.
Quiambao said the glut and low buying price is due to over importation and abundant local harvest.
He said the past two years, their onion plantations were ravaged by armyworms but the situation was eventually controlled.
Although there are cold storage facilities in the town, these are not enough to accommodate the excess supply, he said.
Quiambao said it is time to adopt innovations for added value like converting it into powder or chips which students of the Pangasinan State University (PSU) in Bayambang campus have adopted in their food innovation program.
Aside from onions, product innovation is also applied for the town’s other products like tomatoes, pumpkins and okra.
He said a processing center will be put up by a private entity upon the invitation of the local government, in coordination with the PSU, which will also help in marketing the product.
He cited the marketing agreement between them and PSU is to produce the needed volume to support the factory,” Quiambao said. He said building is expected to be constructed this year.
The municipal government will also assist thru distribution of onion, okra and pumpkin seeds.
In an earlier interview with Artemio Buezon, the municipal agriculturist, he said that bountiful onion harvest this year was expected after farmers were equipped to avert another armyworm attack.
One hectare of onion plantation has a yield of about 15,000 kilograms. More than 1,000 farmers are involved in onion growing in the town.
The volume of production reaches 20 tons in single cropping per year, Buezon said.
A kilo of red onions is now sold in the market at P60-P70. (PhilStar Wire Service)
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