Onion growers expect good price amid sluggish trade

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In early 2020, the onion fetched K1,200-1,300 per viss. Now, the price drastically fell and the growers cannot even cover the input cost.

Onion growers from Monywa Township, Magway Region are expecting a good price amid a bear market trend.

“The onion price is steadily declining. The trade has slowed down for months. We cannot cover even the cultivation cost. Onion is priced only K200-230 per viss (a viss equals 1.6kg). The market will raise its head again only if the external markets demand them,” said an onion grower from Monywa Township.

The onion growers have been facing extreme losses on a downward trend due to the lack of foreign demand. They cannot cover the cultivation cost as well as afford the harvesting cost for now.

Consequently, the prolonged price declines led some growers in Magway Region to leave their onions unharvested as they cannot cover the labour wages and transportation charges.

The stockpiles in the market have exacerbated with the fresh bulk supply of onions. The old onions fetched only K100-200 per viss in the wholesale market, whereas the prices of fresh onion stand at over K200 per viss.

In early 2020, the onion fetched K1,200-1,300 per viss. Now, the price drastically fell and the growers cannot even cover the input cost, said U Tun, a grower.

The prevailing prices of onions are around K400 per viss in the retail market. The lower demand brings down the price to the lowest level, said U Thar Paw, a warehouse owner.

The prices of onions sharply dropped owing to the bulk supply and the closure of the western border following the coronavirus impacts. Additionally, the sluggish trade amid the current political conditions and shutdown of the restaurants, hotels, factories and donation events exacerbate the onion market.

Earlier, onions were highly demanded by Bangladesh and India. The trade with Bangladesh and India has been halted to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Having said that, the price remains low. The onion growers, as well as traders, have been experiencing market fallouts due to the COVID-19 impacts since last year, said onion wholesale dealer from Mandalay.

Next, Bangladesh’s demand for Myanmar’s onions coupled with high demand in the local market hiked up prices, soaring up to K4,000 per viss on 15 November 2019, according to the Mandalay commodity depot.

The high demand by foreign markets and a remarkable price rise prompted the growers to expand the onion cultivation in 2020. Unfortunately, the market is getting worse.

The prices of domestic onions exceeded K3,000 per viss in 2015, 2018, and 2019.
The onions are primarily grown in Mandalay, Magway and Yangon regions, Nay Pyi Taw and Shan State. — Lulay/ HH

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