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Cost of living: How onions became a luxury in the Philippines

“Back in August, the Department of Agriculture had forecast a potential shortage of the root crop. A few months later, the Philippines was hit by two powerful storms that caused substantial crop damage,” says Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING Bank.

Source link Recently, the prices of some basic necessities have skyrocketed in the Philippines, with onions emerging as a major symbol of the cost of living struggles being faced by Filipinos.

The steady rise in inflation, largely driven by rising oil prices, has seen prices of food products such as onions soar in the country. Recently, it was reported that onions now sell for more than P100 (approximately US$2) per kilo, double the price of a year ago.

The high cost of onions has hit the poor the hardest, as they are the ones who rely on them the most in their day to day diets. This has caused rising anger and discontent, with people protesting against the soaring prices and calling for the government to step in and provide relief, either through policies to decrease the price or subsidies so that the poor can still afford to buy groceries.

Meanwhile, economists have warned that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. Rising global oil prices, as well as continued currency weakness and low crop yields due to severe El-Nino-fueled drought, will further push up the prices of onions, and other staples, beyond the reach of many Filipinos.

The Philippines is not the only country facing an onion crisis. Some other Southeast Asian nations such as Thailand and Vietnam have also been affected by rising prices.

The high costs of onions and other basic necessities are becoming an increasingly worrying issue for the Philippine economy, and the government is coming under increasing pressure to act in order to alleviate the everyday burden being faced by its citizens. Until solutions such as import substitution, better storage solutions and improved farming techniques are implemented, onions will continue to be seen as a luxury item in the Philippines.

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