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First shipments of the Egyptian onion season depart next week, as the European market is in short supply

Onion stocks are down in Europe in a time of disruption across the major origins of this crop. In New Zealand, floods have washed away onion fields, and many CIS countries, such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, have banned onion exports for the next few months to maintain stable prices and sufficient quantities for their domestic markets.

To cover the shortage in Europe, the Egyptian export campaign will start next week, says Mr. Ralph Nakhal of the producer Tomna: "We will start shipping the early yellow onion varieties next week. The red and late yellow varieties will follow in April. However, there will be no more volume than last season because we have maintained the same acreage." The producer preferred to maintain the same volumes and produce more garlic than onions this season, while other Egyptian producers had to decrease their onion acreage due to low profitability last season.

Mr. Nakhal said he does not plan to significantly increase his acreage next year either, adding: "This is the high season, and increasing the acreage will bring down the prices. We are not market driven. We are slowly increasing our acreage, every year, regardless of how much demand there is." Last November, Mr. Nakhal announced a good quality crop due to cooler temperatures at the end of the year.

As for prices, the grower anticipates an increase justified by the rise in production costs and the growing demand "we are aware of the strong demand in Europe. The price will surely increase." According to the producer, the current demand comes mainly from Eastern European countries, particularly Greece and Croatia, and Italy, while demand from the Netherlands is expected to pick up soon. "Eastern European importers are asking for the yellow onion varieties, Russia is asking for the red one, and Italy is currently asking for both."

Mr. Nakhal concludes, "It all depends on the extent of the onion shortage in Europe and how much demand there is, but Egyptian production may not be enough to cover all the need. We may also supply our European customers from our plantations in Chile if necessary."

For more information:
Ralph Nakhal
Tomna for Agricultural Investment
Mobile: +20 100 2717 275

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