By Stephanie Sevillano

INTENSIFIED EFFORTS. The Department of Agriculture (DA) conducts on Feb. 14-16, 2023 inspections in several markets in Metro Manila to check if stalls adhere to the set PHP125/kg suggested retail price for onions. The DA said these inspections are part of its intensified efforts against price manipulation and other market abuses. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Agriculture)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it has issued notices of violation against several stall owners in Metro Manila for selling “overpriced” onions in the markets.

In a statement, the DA said inspections conducted from Feb. 14 to 16 showed that some stalls have been selling a kilogram of onions from PHP140 to PHP250.

Such price range is higher than the suggested retail price (SRP) of PHP125 per kilo for imported onions.

“A notice of violation was handed by DA inspectors to owners of three stalls in Balintawak public market and two stalls in Quinta Market. The task force also visited the Mega Pasig market on February 16, where two stalls were called out for selling onions without price tags. Another eight stalls were found selling overpriced commodities,” it said.

DA Inspectorate & Enforcement (I & E) Assistant Secretary James Layug assured that the DA will continue to intensify efforts against overpricing of onions, especially as the peak harvest season continues.

“Rest assured that the department will bolster its effort in curbing price manipulation and other market abuses,” he said.

Meanwhile, these notices against offenders shall be referred to the local government unit adjudication, according to the DA.

To date, the prevailing prices of local red onions in Metro Manila markets range from PHP120/kg to PHP200/kg; local white onion at PHP90/kg to PHP150/kg; and PHP120/kg to PHP160/kg for both imported big red and white onions.

Prices of medium-sized imported red and white onions, however, are not available.

Earlier, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said retail prices in markets in Metro Manila should decline since the farmgate prices have been dropping amid the peak harvest season. (PNA)