A rainbow in the middle of a storm: Onion farmers dominate local markets amid COVID-19 pandemic

Date Published: June 9, 2020

For most cases, the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) brought bad business to local farmers as access to market became a struggle due to the strict implementation of the Enhance Community Quarantine in the provinces.

However, some fortunate farmers are able to make an opportunity from the crisis situation.

The Pasuquin Onion Growers Agricultural Cooperative (POGAC) in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte is among the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) enterprise recipients, which found a rainbow in the middle of a storm, good business in the middle of a pandemic.

POGAC received a Php3.03 million Onion Production, Consolidation and Marketing Enterprise from the PRDP in 2017. In their business plan, the Cooperative partnered with established market outlets to sell their onion produce at a competitive price. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic that restricted transportation and closed most establishments that demand onion, these market linkages broke.

The restriction in transportation of goods from border to border, on the other hand, brought a surprising positive impact to the onion enterprise of POGAC. The tight security and monitoring prevented the influx of smuggled onions in Ilocos Norte and gave an opportunity for POGAC to dominate local markets. In effect, the Cooperative made significant profit margins from selling onions amid the pandemic.

According to Ms. Ma. Teresa Bacnat of the Office of Provincial Agirculturist in Ilocos Norte, POGAC even helped in the relief operations in their area with the help of their delivery truck. The POGAC received a delivery truck as part of its onion enterprise from the PRDP. Ms. Bacnat also commended the Cooperative for not giving up after its marketing agreement failed.

Farming is a business that cannot avoid risks and unfortunate circumstances. The business’ survival will depend on the farmer’s intuition and resourcefulness. This is a practice set by the POGAC in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte for Ilocos proponent groups to follow. (Dessa Estrada, RPCO1 InfoACE)

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