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Kyrgyzstan also banned onion exports – bad news for Uzbekistan?

The topic of onion shortages in the region continues to be the main one on the agenda, according to EastFruit experts. As we previously reported, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan all banned onion exports. Now another country of the region, Kyrgyzstan, has been added to the list of onion export prohibitors.

Today, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Agriculture announced that the country is banning the export of all types of onions for three months. The export ban is issued by the resolution: “On Amendments to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic “On the introduction of a temporary ban on the exports of certain types of agricultural goods from the Kyrgyz Republic””.

The exports of Kyrgyz onions are officially prohibited from January 31, 2023 to April 30, 2023 inclusive. The ban is justified by the need to ensure food security and contain prices for socially significant food products, to which the Ministry also included all types of onions.

It is interesting that Kyrgyzstan, according to EastFruit analysts, until recently exported onions to Uzbekistan, smoothing out the deficit that formed in that country mainly due to the freezing of onions stored in improper conditions. Accordingly, the ban on the export of onions from Kyrgyzstan may become a factor that would fuel further growth in prices for these vegetables in Uzbekistan, although the price level there is already record high.

At the same time, Kyrgyzstan itself has never been a very large exporter of onions compared to other countries in the region. According to EastFruit, the annual exports of onions from Kyrgyzstan, according to official statistics, which, of course, may be incomplete, ranged from 10 to 20 thousand tons per year. For comparison, Uzbekistan annually exports more than 200 thousand tons of onions, Kazakhstan – 100 thousand tons, and Tajikistan – 80-95 thousand tons.

Turkmenistan remains the only country in the region that has not yet officially banned onion exports. However, this country is a net importer of onions with a negative balance of about 20 thousand tons per year. Therefore, probably, Turkmenistan is now more likely to suffer from the prohibitions of its neighbors, because it does not grow enough onions of its own.

According to our information, prices for onions in the regions that have imposed an export ban have mostly stabilized at the moment.

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