The Peruvian garlic season started in October and is expected to last through the middle of January. While the season started on time, the overall volumes are expected to be lower than they were last year – but the market is seeing good demand and pricing.
Lower volumes but good quality
At the start of 2020, when the pandemic was mainly affecting China, the price for garlic seeds was high, explains Byron Machuca of White Lion Foods. “In the early months of the pandemic, the price for garlic in general skyrocketed around the world because China had gone into lockdown. This translated into very expensive seeds for garlic too, so overall lower volumes were planted in Peru. We estimate that production is about 20% less than previous years in Peru,” Byron says.
While the volumes are lower, the overall quality and sizing of the garlic this season are looking good, according to Byron. “We saw colder weather than usual. This helped develop a strong color for the purple and red garlic, which is what the market demands. The quality and sizing are good this season, too.”
High demand and good prices
The main export markets for White Lion’s red and purple garlic are in Canada, Mexico, Australia and Europe. “Spain actually had a poor harvest this year compared to previous years, and this has boosted the demand in the European markets where Spain usually distributes their garlic. That has been good for us, because we usually compete with Spain on the red and purple garlic. Overall demand is very high, which is also because of the pandemic. Many countries that we export to understand the health benefits of garlic and also use it in home remedies, so that has helped boost demand,” says Byron.
In addition to high demand, the garlic market is also seeing high prices. “The prices are very similar to what they were in 2016, a year when China had a bad crop which increased overall pricing,” Byron shares, adding: “This year China has a healthy crop, but the combination of the low volumes from Spain and the overall increase in demand because of the pandemic has made for a high demand which has resulted in high prices.”
White Lion Food’s Purple Fire garlic
One of the garlic varieties that White Lion Foods grows is the Purple Fire variety. This is a relatively new variety that gets its bright purple color from being grown at high altitudes in the Peruvian highlands. “We have found ground for new fields of this variety so this year we are planting more of it. We’re very proud of this garlic, and are working to expand our markets for it,” Machuca says.
White Lion Foods also released a new logo and brand for the Purple Fire garlic. “Currently, we are mainly shipping Purple Fire garlic to Australia, but we also expect it to ship to Canada this year. Our main focus is to grow the Peruvian brand and name for garlic around the world,” Machuca concludes.