Argentina: Onion industry fears return of 'Pico de Agua'

Argentina’s 2011/12 onion season was the worst in years, with bacterial onion disease 'Pico de agua' plaguing crops all over the country. According to agriculturist Daniel Lurman of Economía del INTA Hilario Ascasubi prospects for this season aren’t necessarily bad, but there are possible threats. “In all, the situation is more favourable than last year’s,” he claims. “Production in both Europe and Brazil is down, which may boost demand. On the other hand, the EU did export more onions this year.”

CORFO and the UNS department of finances announced plans to convert the Colorado River Valley of Buenos Aires into a 13,000-acre onion field. “It might not be quite that large,” warns Lurman. “Besides, acreage isn’t really the issue here, it’s the return of 'Pico de Agua'.

Last season was the worst in Argentine history. According to data by FunBaPa (Fundación Barrera Patagónica), 422,266 tons of onions were sold, of which 284,815 to domestic markets and 137,451 tons to foreign destinations. Export to Brazil alone was lower than the 2003-2011 average.



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