COLD STORAGE FACILITY. Department of Agriculture Executive Regional Director Crispulo G. Bautista Jr. delivers his message during the turnover ceremony of a PHP20-million onion cold storage facility to the Sapang Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Barangay Ablang Sapang, Moncada, Tarlac on Wednesday (March 16, 2022). The facility can store 10,000 bags of dry bulb onions and prolong their shelf life for six to eight months. (Photo courtesy of DA-3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Onion farmers in Barangay Ablang Sapang, Moncada, Tarlac stand to benefit from a cold storage facility project of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The DA Regional Field Office 3 on Wednesday formally turned over the PHP20-million facility to the Sapang Multi-Purpose Cooperative, one of the groups that participated in an expansion project of the agency's High-Value Crops Development Program for onion.

DA Executive Regional Director Crispulo G. Bautista Jr. said the project intends to increase the price of bulb onions in lean months while maintaining the supply in the local market and encouraging more farmers to engage in onion farming.

“Through this facility, farmers can prolong the shelf life of onions longer and lessen postharvest losses, which will eventually offer them a decent income for their produce,” Bautista said during the event.

The cold storage facility has a total capacity of 10,000 bags of dry bulb onions. It is part of the DA's Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) program.

Cesario Tabago, president of the Sapang Multi-Purpose Cooperative, said the facility is a big help as it will enable farmers to store their produce in a safe place and obtain a good price for it.

Due to the lack of storage facilities, he said farmers are often forced to market their produce at a low price.

“Malaking tulong ito sa mga magsasaka ng kooperatiba at sa aming bayan upang maitataas pa ang kita sa sibuyas at matatanggal na ang mga middlemen na karaniwang bumibili ng aming produkto sa napakababang halaga (This is a big help to the farmers of the cooperative and to our town as it could help increase income from onions and remove the middlemen who usually buy our products at a very low price),” Tabago said.

Bautista assured that the DA will build more onion cold storage facilities in the region to help save the farmers from huge post-harvest losses.

The storage facility will prolong the shelf life of onions for six to eight months.

It is seen to reduce post-harvest losses from 10 to 15 percent while maintaining the quality of harvested produce. (PNA)