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Monday, May 20, 2024

Onions Are Now Luxuries in Philippines 

Last month, the rise in food and fuel prices owing to inflation hit its highest level in 14 years

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Hrishita Chatterjee
Hrishita Chatterjee
Covering culture and trending topics

PHILIPPINES: The prices of onions in Philippines have risen to approximately 700 pesos, equivalent to $12.80 per kg the previous month. This increased price is more than the price of meat and more than the Southeast Asian country’s minimum wage daily.

Increasing demand due to the reopening of Philippines economy coupled with the worse weather situation has greatly affected the production of food, especially onions. 

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Onions’ price skyrockets due to reopening of Philippines’ economy

A senior economist at ING Bank, Nicholas Mapa, said, “The Department of Agriculture had anticipated a potential deficit of the root crop back in August. A few months later, the Philippines was struck by two severe storms that seriously harmed the crops.”

Rizalda Maunes, who manages a pizzeria in central Cebu city, says that even though the prices of onions have eased in the last few weeks, onions still happen to be a luxury. 

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She said, “Every day, we used to purchase three to four kilogrammes of onions. We now only buy half a kilo because that is all we can afford, and our clients understand that because many dishes utilise onions as a sweetener, households are also struggling.”

Onions have been one of the most basic ingredients in Filipino cuisine and in the most popular street stalls attracting a lot of locals and tourists, and have now become an epitome of the high cost of living in the country. 

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Last month, the rise in prices of food and fuel due to inflation reached its highest in the last 14 years. 10 crew members from the country’s airline were interrogated for smuggling approximately 40 kg of onions and fruits. 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, President of the country, as well as the agriculture secretary, has called this price hike an alarming and “emergency situation”. In an attempt to initiate supply, Marcos had initiated the import of red and yellow onions. 

Alex Chua, who maintains a street stall at a well-known tourist spot in the country, said, “We appreciate that the government is taking action to halt price increases. We hope they keep using these strategies to lower prices even further.”

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