The Indian onion season is currently in the process of selling the remaining onions of the March harvest. It’s a challenging time for Indian exporters, as they search their stocks for the best quality onions that are still available.
The new harvest of Indian onions will arrive in October, until then the country will rely on the crop that was harvested during March and stored for selling in subsequent months.
According to Sagar Tikyani, founder of Indian produce exporter Dilip Agro, prices are unstable during this time: “This time of the year, being from August to October, is the most volatile period for Indian onions in terms of pricing. This has to do with speculation on how much quantities are still available in storages and if the stored volumes are sufficient to keep the consumers fed until the new crops arrive. The new crops arrive at the end of October, and thus we’ve seen swinging prices for the past two weeks. Only checking last week, we’ve seen the prices going up by 70 to 90 USD per ton. It has resulted in us being careful with our new purchases at this time.”
As there are countries that fully rely on the Indian onions, Tikyani isn’t too worried about selling his produce, but is also looking to find new partners in the western part of the world. “We’re expecting to export stable volumes this year, at least in countries that rely fully on Indian onions, such as Sri Lanka, UAE, Bangladesh and Nepal. You can imagine these are also our main and most important markets. Apart from these traditional export markets, we’re also keeping our eyes fixed on the western part of the world, where we do not have clients at this time.”
As the current onions have been out of the ground for almost half a year, the quality degrades. This makes it hard for Tikyani to find the right onions that will satisfy his clients. “The major challenge for us is providing quality produce to our clients, as this time of the year it demands an extra effort to grade and sort onions. The reason behind this is the onions that are available in the market now are the ones harvested near the end of March. As quality obviously deteriorates over time, no matter how much care you put into it, it becomes more challenging to meet quality demands as time goes on. But with good grading and monitoring, it is always possible to get the finest quality for our clients”
“We sell our onions under the DILSHA brand in overseas markets. Apart from selling our onions overseas, we also sell in local markets. This gives us an advantage in providing better pricing to our export clients. We call it a good season if overseas pricing is favorable, which isn’t the case right now, due to slow sales. However, we are quite optimistic for the coming months as the Covid-curve flattens worldwide, which will hopefully push sales up. Apart from exporting onions, we also export grapes from December to April, and for the future we are looking to leverage our local presence by importing dates in particular as well as other fresh produce.” Tikyani concludes.