Senegal's is in middle of an onion supply glut, with prices plummeting and heaps of the pungent vegetables left to rot by the roadside. The nation’s farmers, who produce about 450,000 tons of onions a year, are blaming the problem on increased foreign competition and a lack of storage capacity. But the government also argues that farmers have overproduced this year, flooding the market with onions and depressing prices.
The vegetable is a lifeline to many in the nation of 16 million people, where it is a key ingredient in the national fish-and-rice dish, Thieboudienne, as well as Yassa chicken. Senegal's onion sector has long been plagued by problems. Almost a third of the crop is lost every year.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation noted in a 2018 report that the use of low-quality seeds by Senegalese farmers contributes to the problem.