The Netherlands, the tenth biggest producer of onions in the world, is Honduras' main onion supplier, as it has supplied the Central American country with more than 86 million kilograms of this vegetable. In fact, in the last 15 years, 1 in 5 onions consumed in Honduras was of Dutch origin.
According to data from the Central Bank of Honduras (BCH), the Honduran market imported 162.6 million kilos of onions worth more than 57 million dollars in the last fifteen years, 53% of which came from the Netherlands, 18% from Belgium, 18% from Guatemala, and 5% from the United States, among other countries.
Hondurans mainly consume yellow onions (87%) and red onions (12%), which are mostly bought from the Netherlands 54% and 56%, respectively.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG), two harvests ago, national onion producers produced 250,000 fifty-pound bags, i.e. approximately 5.7 million kilos. According to BCH data, 1.02 million kilos were destined for El Salvador.
Duvis Iriarte, producer and administrator of the Ocotepeque Onion Producers Association (Aproceo), estimated that his organization contributes 75% of the national production to the market and the remaining 25% comes from the regions of Güinope, Maraita, El Paraíso, La Paz, and Comayagua.
Source of income
About 1,000 families that own plots of less than 3.5 hectares are dedicated to this sector, whose harvest begins in December and ends in early April. These families, which are based in rural areas where there are no formal jobs, the Government -through the SAG-, and merchants (including supermarkets) created the National Onion Chain to establish purchase agreements, prices, and quantities in order to protect national production against imports and keep the market stocked.
“Onion production is a good business alternative in the national agricultural sector. We should take full advantage of the organized producers that have knowledge and experience in managing onions, the availability of irrigation systems, the availability of hybrid seeds that have high productive potential, environment-friendly agrochemicals, and roads that facilitate access to the market ”, stated Roberto Tejada, the communication manager of the Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research (Fhia).