Glancing at the chaotic world around us, it is safe to conclude that 2021 is nothing short of a roller coaster. This can especially be said about the onions’ market. If the reports from the U.K. market are analysed, there are large fluctuations in weather conditions. This has led to a wishy-washy growing and harvest season. In the Netherlands, production has increased by eleven per cent, the sales are still inconsistent. This is due to the previous season’s onions. They are continuing to hamper the current season’s sales. In regards to China, their logistical viewpoint is still constructing adverse conditions when it comes to sales. Exporters are still battling to maintain their volumes as they attempt to dispatch the vegetable out of the country. Also, the domestic demand is not enough to maintain or raise the prices. The global situation, after the pandemic, is proving to be tough for the onion market at present.
In Australia, the retail sales growth rate of onions was 8.5% in terms of dollar value for the year ending March 2021, which was above the vegetable category as a whole at 8.1%. Volume sales growth was also up at 5.3% for onions and 4.7% for the vegetable category. The average dollar spend jumped from $25.09 to $27.13.
The price of peeled onions on the Chinese market is currently around 600 USD per ton. That is nearly 200 USD per tonne more than around this time last year. There are three reasons for the high onion price. First, the overall surface area devoted to onion plantation decreased this year. In addition, domestic market demand grew stronger and the ratio of domestic sales has gone up. Second, the product quality of the vegetable is substandard this season. The percentage of this vegetable suitable for export is lower than usual. This pushes the price of top-quality onions even higher. And third, not only are the onions expensive, and the shipping cost huge, but the recent appreciation of the Chinese yuan has further weakened the interest of overseas buyers in Chinese onions. All of these factors work together to create a difficult market. There is barely any demand from overseas markets and the order volumes are small.
An onion trader at the Johannesburg municipal market says that the onion price lifted by R5 (0.29 Euro) / 10kg bag on Wednesday morning as a result of strong demand and lower volumes; the average price in Johannesburg is currently R3.89 (0.22 Euro) per kg for the most common 10kg bag category. In the Koue Bokkeveld (Western Cape) most producers have finished packing (those delivering to supermarkets pack a bit longer), while Limpopo and Northwest onion producers are now on the market with their winter onions.
Onion prices have been under pressure over the past few months as a result of high volumes (more hectares were planted in the north) and quality problems due to a cooler, wetter summer in the north which affected the ripening and drying process.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)