Onion price dives as demand collapses amid COVID resurgence

The prices of onions plunged to below K1,000 per viss (a viss equals to 1.6kg) owing to the bulk supply and the closure of western border amid the coronavirus resurgence. Earlier, onions were highly demanded by Bangladesh, India and China. Now, the trade with Bangladesh and India has halted to contain the spread of the coronavirus. That is why the price is on the decline, said onion depot owner from Mandalay. The western border of Myanmar is still closed due to the coronavirus resurgence. At present, there is a steady demand by Muse border and domestic markets. However, the stockpiles of old onions cause the price to decline lower. The onion prices move in the range of K700 to 900 per viss depending on quality on 16 November 2020, on the back of bulk supply of 200,000 visses to Yangon market.
The onions were priced K2,100-3,400 per viss during a year-ago period. Additionally, freshly harvested onions from monsoon crop season will flood the domestic market by the mid-December, despite damage to some acres, onion traders said.
This year, the onion growers, as well as traders, are experiencing market fallouts due to the surging COVID-19 cases. As a result of this, workers engaged in onion depots are suffering financial hardship, said a depot owner from Mandalay. Last year, 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 this year. The prices of domestic onions exceeded K3,000 per viss in 2015, 2018, and 2019. Nevertheless, there is uncertainty with foreign demand during the coronavirus pandemic, pointed out a market observer. The onions are primarily grown in Mandalay, Magway and Yangon regions, Nay Pyi Taw and Shan State. —Maung Sae Aung, Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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