Onion price likely to move upward on possible foreign demand in coming months


A gradual rise is expected at onion prices as traders expect increasing demand from the foreign trade partners in the coming months, according to Mawlamyine Commodity Centre.
This year, erratic weather conditions wreaked havoc on onion plantations in March and resulted in yield drop. Moreover, the number of onion acres has scaled down due to the collapse of the market in the past three consecutive years. Therefore, the acreage is possibly reduced by half in 2022, onion traders speculated.
“This year, onion production is estimated at 500,000 tonnes. The daily consumption of onions is around 650-800 tonnes. About 200,000 tonnes of onions can be delivered to the external market,” a market observer shared his opinion.
At present, the onion growing season has ended. Traders are stockpiling them for the monsoon season.
We do a roaring trade. Quality onions are offered up to K700 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes) by brokers. Last year, the price was below K300 per viss, said an onion grower.
Additionally, the Cross-border trade channel between Myanmar and China is reopened again. Bangladesh offered to purchase Myanmar’s onions in mid-May. Onions are conveyed to Thailand as well.
“China’s border is not uncertain owing to virus policy. We have security concerns and transportation difficulties to export onions to Thailand. The small number of onions started flowing into the Bangladesh market,” a market observer elaborated on foreign market conditions.
Myanmar’s onions are regularly exported to Thailand and they are reexported to Malaysia and Viet Nam. Nonetheless, security challenges in Myanmar-Thailand border areas have blocked trade routes. Thailand imports about 38 per cent to fulfil the needs of local consumption, according to the National Enlightenment Institute.
“If Bangladesh’s demand for onions increases, the price will surely rocket. It is hard to predict the market condition now. China and Thailand prefer quality onions only,” said a trader.
The onion growers, as well as traders, experienced market fallouts during the COVID-19 pandemic since the foreign demand dried up.
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 prices of domestic onions exceeded K3,000 per viss in 2015, 2018, and 2019.
According to a 2018-2019 statistic from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, there were 174,423 acres of onions across Myanmar, with an estimated production of 629.605 million visses (3,620.71 visses per acre on average). Mandalay Region, the main producer, accounts for 36 per cent (227.57 million visses) of onion yields, followed by Sagaing Region with 32 per cent (200.149 million visses) and Magway Region with 26 per cent (162.17 million visses). Those three regions constitute 94 per cent of the overall production.
The onions are mostly grown in Mandalay, Magway and Yangon regions, Nay Pyi Taw and Shan State. — KK/GNLM

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