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OVERVIEW GLOBAL GARLIC MARKETAfter China had a difficult season last year and production decreased, many countries saw their chance to increase their market share. This year China is back with a larger volume and wants its place on the world market again. This is having an impact on other exporters, like Peru. Other countries see opportunities in garlic cultivation, so there are growers in the Dominican Republic and Ukraine who are starting to grow the crop.
Chinese stock up 80% in 2017
China's garlic stock amounts to 348,000 tonnes this year; an increase of almost 78% compared with the 196,000 tonnes stored a year earlier. Last year, the acreage was expanded, so this year's harvest has almost doubled. This higher supply was reflected in the export price of garlic, which is around 6,000 yuan (770 Euro) per tonne. In the same period last year, the price was 10,000 yuan per tonne; 40% more than right now. In total, no more than 2.4 million tonnes of garlic are marketed. There is still room for 1 million tonnes in storage.
India mainly focused on domestic market
Garlic crops are located in the middle and north of the country. During the peak of the season, more than 800 tonnes of the product are traded on the wholesale market in Mandsaur. However, most of the production remains within the national borders, with just about 10% intended for export. The demand is limited and competition with Chinese garlic is difficult.
Australia wants more domestic product
Until recently, little garlic was grown on a commercial basis in Australia. The harvest begins at the end of spring and continues during the summer. About 80% of garlic is imported. The majority of their garlic comes from China, but imports from Spain, Argentina, Mexico and the US are also on the rise. A plan is in the works to increase domestic production and meet 30% of the demand.
US: Stable price expected
Now that the Argentinian export season is starting, Peruvian exporters seem to be approaching the US market. "I have had several requests from Peruvian growers and traders," said a US importer. The company imports garlic from Argentina. How the market will develop is still uncertain. "We do not expect prices to be that high in 2018, but we are hoping for a stable price."
Netherlands: Low garlic price attracts importers
The garlic market is currently difficult in the Netherlands. Since current prices allow everyone to buy a garlic container, there are too many importers on the market, while often only a few pallets a week are needed. Although you cannot blame anyone, this makes the situation very tough. Garlic prices vary considerably. Production in both China and Spain has been very good and China is even speaking of the biggest harvest ever. In fact, all producing countries have planted more than in the past year. Importers expect that, given the stocks and bad demand, the market is likely to stabilise or slow down. They are sure that if there is a lack of demand, the price after the Chinese New Year will definitely fall further.
Belgian traders prefer European product
The market here is dominated by garlic from Europe. At present, according to a Belgian trader, the Chinese garlic market conditions are not ideal. Retailers and traders prefer garlic from Europe if the price difference is not too great. Chinese garlic is sold at almost the import price and trade is still slow.
Spain: Greater harvest, stable price
The Spanish garlic production has been 20% greater than last year. Prices have remained stable since July, when the harvest came to an end. The demand is good and according to traders there is enough room in the market for Spanish garlic. This is also due to the new markets which opened last year, despite China's competition. The prices were low last year, but it was still a record year. At the moment, prices are profitable.
Growers are currently planting the spring crops for the next season. The climate is favourable, although growers fear the impact of drought. It's still too early to say anything about the next season, but it seems that the acreage will be reduced a little bit next year. The planting of the new garlic continues until February.
Italy reports good production
Although retailers support the domestic garlic production, this production is insufficient to meet the demand. "The volumes are good and the yield (dry weight) is 10 to 12 tonnes per hectare. The dry weather has had no impact on the production and we have properly addressed the fusarium problems," stated a trader. Imported garlic is usually cheaper than the domestic crops. Most retailers take the country of origin into account when purchasing.
France has a difficult season
Due to competition from Spain, the market is not easy. On top of that, the problems with fusarium have had an impact on the crop this season. However, the volume is stable, although it needs to be sorted well. Spanish garlic is sold for less than 0.50 Euro per kilo. Consumers care more about the price than about the country of origin. White garlic is the most popular. Both imports and exports are on the rise. Imports arrive from countries like Spain and China, while exports go, for example, to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Austria.
Stable season for Greece
Growers have been working on the planting for two weeks and the conditions have been good so far. In the previous season, there was a good volume and good quality, so sales of garlic from storage are still underway. Prices are normal and the focus is on the domestic market. The price for category 6 currently oscillates between 2.50 and 2.70 Euro per kilo. There is little import until November, as most consumers prefer the Greek garlic. After Christmas, there is more room for Spanish and Chinese garlic, and Egypt's production hits the market in April.
Ukraine sees opportunities in garlic cultivation
More and more growers see good opportunities for business in garlic cultivation. Although production is still low, growers see great potential in the crop. Much has been invested in technological advances, which has helped increase the production, and new markets have been opened. This season, over 200,000 tonnes were harvested. Domestic cultivation covers 90% of the local market. From February to May, imports arrive from China. Belarus is a traditional export market for Ukrainian garlic, but the Baltic States also purchase the product. In recent years, much has changed, with test shipments to the Netherlands, Canada and other EU countries. This urge to export is also motivated by the low price of fresh garlic, which stands at 1 Euro per kilo.
Peru is looking for opportunities
The season has been tough compared to last year. "Last year, the market was good for calibres 5 and 6, but China's volumes have been great again this year, so we have only been getting orders for calibres 7 and 8," explains a trader. A solution to this problem was found in the sale of the small calibres in net packaging to the US. The start of the purple garlic harvest is around the corner and there will be room in the Australian market for the larger calibres of this variety. "We have high expectations for the purple garlic export season and this should compensate for the disappointing performance of white garlic."
Greater volumes for Argentinian growers
Production is growing by 14% compared with the previous year, according to figures announced by the government. In recent seasons, this crop has recorded stable growth. In 2016, garlic cultivation had a 64% share of the winter crop acreage, and this year it is rising to 73%. This will bring the production to 130,000 tonnes. The largest part, 74%, is intended for export, while the rest is sold on the domestic market. The main market is Brazil, accounting for 34% of exports. More than half of the acreage corresponds to purple garlic, 34% to red garlic, 6% to white garlic and 5% to other varieties.
Growers in Dominican Republic jumping into a lucrative market
Ahead of the planting, a larger volume is expected to be produced than last year. Growers are motivated by the profitability of the crop and they hope that the government will stop importing whenever local products are on the market. Also, dryers have been set up in order to speed up the post-harvest processes. "We expect about 4,000 tonnes to be harvested, which is enough to meet the demand for two months."
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