For the last two seasons, bad decisions in planting and harvesting lowered the production of onions. Normally, the tariffs for onions are set to 49%. With the decision to import onions, Turkish ministry of trade announced that the tariffs for onions are set to zero until February 28. The ministry explained the move as a response to the increasingly higher prices in the domestic market and as an attempt to stabilize the prices.
Ali Ekber Yildirim, agriculture writer said that the problems in onion production is well known and that currently the ratio of rotten onions are too high. Yildirim emphasized that countries produce onions only for their own needs and that it is difficult to find an exporter.
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Iran are among countries that can potentially export onions to Turkey. However it is difficult to estimate a substantial production of onions in these countries.
For a long time now, onions cost at least 5 Lira (0,83 Euro) per kilo and go up to 12 Lira (2 Euro) per kilo. Since, no time is allowed for the onion to dry and wrong techniques are applied in seeding, a lot of these onions are gone rotten. Red onions are known to be more durable, however low production and high prices don't look promising to meet the current demand.
If Turkey cannot find a suitable exporter, there might be a shortage of onions that would last until April.
Ali Ekber Yildirim contends that the source of the problem lies in production not in excessive storage: "The harvests of onions are done in July-August and then they are sent to storage for winter. While there is a problem in the production itself, the warehouse raids would not be a solution to decrease the prices."
"We think that imports are not the solution. We need to talk about a better planning for the production." Yildirim added.