Onion farm in Barangay Sinaja, Belison, Antique (PNA photo courtesy of Ronald Ardeño)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – Farmers in Antique province must prioritize high-value crops (HVC) such as onion and garlic to prevent shortage and normalize prices.

Board Member Rony Molina passed a resolution during the provincial council session Monday amid a “wide disturbing news of overwhelming price increase in the market of two of the HVC, namely onion and garlic.”

“As observed during the past years, the prices of these crops are stable, until of late that there was a shortage for reason of lack of cold storage facilities, and may be because of hoarding by some traders taking advantage of the abnormal situation such that the government has no recourse but to resort to importation to remedy and meet the demands in the market,” Molina said in his resolution.

Molina said planting HVC is a better remedy than importation, which is disadvantageous to farmers.

In a later interview, he said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist must teach planting technology to farmers.

“Most farmers are into planting rice rather than the HVC in Antique because they do not know the technology,” Molina said.

Ronald Ardeño, a 34-year-old farmer from Barangay Sinaja in Belison town, said he earns more from growing onions than rice.

“I was able to earn around PHP20,000 from the one-fourth hectare that I planted with onions,” he said in an interview, grateful for the onion seedlings he received from the DA in October last year.

He said he only earned PHP12,000 during rice harvest.

With the onions, the farm gate price was PHP80 per kilogram and harvest came after three months.

“I am now again doing land preparation so I could plant onions,” he said. (PNA)