Undersupply turns to oversupply for Mexico green onions

Strong production in the Mexico growing regions has seen supplies of green onions increase in recent weeks. Favorable weather has contributed to the increase in numbers. "Our green onion growing region at this time of year is located near San Luis Rio Colorado in Sonora," said Manuel Arellano of Arizona-based Allium Fresh. "The weather and the seed variation allows us to have a year-round green onion program, with Ojos Negros taking over from May to October. Recent weeks have seen strong production coming out of the region."

However, the amount of green onion production has created an oversupply which has put downward pressure on the market. Prices have dropped significantly from high levels experienced during the shortage of supply a few weeks ago. "We have come out of a good market and are now seeing prices of $7 - $12," Arellano said. "This is compared with a high of $24, $25 when supplies were short."

Farmers harvesting crops early
Arellano explained the overproduction, saying that farmers cashed in on high prices and began shortening the growth time of the onions, harvesting them before they were fully mature and boosting volume. "The farmers began cutting the growing time short," he said. "Green onions should stay in the ground for 90 - 100 days, but the high prices and short supply prompted a quicker harvest."

As a result, not only is there an excess of green onion volume, the proportion of smaller sized product is higher. "Normally, we see about 70% medium sized green onions, and 30% small," Arellano continued. "Now it's more like 50/50. Currently the market is saturated with product which has brought down the price. However, we expect the shortage of larger sizes will actually cause the price to partially rebound in the next few weeks."

Ups and downs normal part of green onion program
The ups and downs experienced during the season is relatively normal, according to growers. One of the differences this year was that suppliers did not see the price rise as early when compared to previous years. Part of the reason is that the West Coast had additional volume at a later point in the season.

"It's been a fairly normal year, with the ups and downs part of the green onion market," Arellano said. "However, normally we see prices rise earlier than we did this year. The reason is that the Canadian season ran later and as a result, there was more product on the West Coast." 

For more information:
Manuel Arellano
Allium Fresh, LLC
Tel: +1 (760) 235-9263

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