Filipinos in UAE take home suitcases full of onions as prices soar

The vegetable costs up to three times as much as chicken and beef briskets in Philippines

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Filipinos in the UAE are taking suitcases full of onions to their home country, as the price of the vegetable reached an all-time high of Dh40 ($10) per kg.

Red and white onions, which are staples in Filipino cuisine, now cost two or three times more than chicken and beef briskets in the Philippines.

The short supply and high inflation rates have caused the price increase.

Filipino residents are buying onions from the UAE at Dh1.50 per kg to take with them on their next trip home.

Jonathan Sibol, an animal trainer in Abu Dhabi, said he would be packing onions in his suitcase on his next flight to the Philippines.

“Onion is a very important ingredient for cooking in the Philippines, but sadly the price there is 600 [Dh40] pesos per kilo,” he said.

“If I get a chance to go home, I will bring onions with me because it's cheaper here. It's practical, and you'd save more money.

“For now, this is a major problem in our country — the lack of supply and high prices of onions. Hopefully, prices will be back to normal soon.”

Filipinos have posted pictures of suitcases full of onions on social media, with comments on the cheaper price of the vegetable in other parts of the world.

Kristina Canaberal said on Facebook: “I just want to ask — can we bring onions from the UAE to our place? It's not a joke how expensive a kilo of onion is in the Philippines.”

Joana Ramel posted photos of the vegetable on Facebook and said she hoped that it would be as cheap in the Philippines as it is in the UAE.

“Onions are cheap here,” she said.

Balusada Lou, another Filipino on Facebook, said: “Wow, the Philippines has its own plantation but it's still expensive. Here in UAE, it is exported but why is the price low?”

Buhay OFW, a weekly public service programme for Overseas Filipino Workers, said on its social media site: “In the Philippines, onions are gold, here in UAE, there are mountains of onions.”

Updated: January 11, 2023, 10:17 AM