Onion growers from Shwetapin village of Minbu Township, Magway Region, expect a fair price in mid-March and April as they cultivated onions on a large scale this winter.
“It is suitable for the consumers to buy onions at K100-150 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kg) in Minbu wholesale centres. Nevertheless, the growers are battered by a drastic drop in price. Some halted onion cultivation, whereas some have grown large acres in high hopes of price gain.
A grower with 10 acres cost approximately K800,000 for cultivation, excluding the cost of onion seeds. That’s why they can do well in financial term only when onion fetches K600-700 per viss,” said a grower U Shwe Myint.
The onion growers have been facing extreme losses on a bear market trend due to the lack of foreign demand amid the COVID-19 containment measures.
The prolonged price declines led some growers in Yesagyo Township, Magway Region, to leave their onions unharvested. 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 new onion prices stand at K200-400 per viss.
“Now, some farmers are leaving the onions in the farms unharvested. This occurrence is sporadic. I hope we will not face this devastating situation in future,” said an onion grower from Yesagyo Township.
“In early 2020, the onion fetched K1,200-1,300 per viss. 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 cost to the lowest level,” said U Thar Paw, a warehouse owner.
The prices of onions sharply dropped due to the bulk supply and the western border’s closure amid the coronavirus impacts.
Earlier, onions were highly demanded by Bangladesh and India. Now, the trade with Bangladesh and India is halted to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, the price is on a downward trend. The onion growers and traders are experiencing market fallouts due to the COVID-19 impacts, said wholesale onion 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. 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. – Zeyar Htet/ Htet Myat/GNLM