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PIA Press Release
Friday, January 06, 2012

 

DA eyes more onion storage facilities

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 6 (PIA) -- From the original plan of four onion storage facilities, the Aquino administration has lined up the construction of additional onion storage facilities in at least five provinces, which are considered to be major producers of the crop.

This, after the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) eyed a total of 18 facilities in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur.

Under proper storage conditions with the right temperature, onions can be stored from six to eight months, which will help farmers sell their produce at better prices.

The project is under the Department of Agriculture-High Value Crops Development Program (DA-HVCDP), one of the priority projects of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

DA-PhilMech executive director Ricardo L. Cachuela said the four provinces are major producers of onion, and are beside or near areas that also produce the crop in abundance.

“While onion farmers can produce the crop in abundance, postharvest losses range from 15 to 25 percent, lessening the earnings of farmers. On top of that, farmers lose their bargaining power if their onions are not stored properly,” Cachuela said.

The onion storage facility, also called, “hanger storage," holds loosely stored onions in bulk or bags in a shed structure with good ambient air circulation with cool and dry storage conditions. Too much heat or moisture can shorten the shelf life of onion. The onion hanger facility is a two-storey structure that costs between P1 to P1.5 million each; total budget for 18 onion storage facilities is P21 million.

Each facility can store between 2,000 to 3,000 bags of onion.

Based on the survey of PhilMech, onion is among agricultural commodities that can be stored in cold chain system along with lettuce, broccoli, meat, and tuna.

PhilMech is finalizing the financial plan for the four onion storage facilities, with the aim of tapping the cooperation of farmer cooperatives, private sector, and local governments, among others.

“While government can shoulder the establishment of the onion storage facilities, the participation of the private sector, LGUs, and farmer organizations will help in establishing more of the facilities,” Cachuela said. (DA/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

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