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Michael Coote - AUSVEG

"Despite some challenging South Australian summer weather, onion production is proceeding like previous years"

Onions are a major horticulture crop in Australia and they are regularly in the top five vegetable commodities produced by volume and value each year. In the 2022/23 financial year, more than 255,000 tonnes of onions were grown in Australia, with a production value of more than AUD$332 million.

Onions are grown year-round in Australia, with South Australia and Tasmania accounting for the bulk of production. The percentage breakdown of Australian onion production per state in 2022/23 was: South Australia: 48%, Tasmania 22%, Queensland 12%, Western Australia 10%, Victoria 6%, New South Wales 2%.

"Despite some challenges with hail and heavy rain in South Australia over summer, onion production in Australia is proceeding along the lines of previous years," said Michael Coote, AUSVEG CEO.

In 2022/23, 74% of Australian households purchased onions, buying an average of 672g per shopping trip. Australians on average purchased 7.7kg of onions per person for the year.

Global trade - Australia
In 2023 the top five export destinations for fresh Australian onions were Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Spain. The Netherlands, Indonesia, Japan, Belgium and Singapore rounded out the top 10.

Compared to 2022, Australia's onion exports in 2023 increased by 48 per cent in value, from AUD$29.6 million to AUD$44 million and total export volume increased by 21 per cent from 33,902 tonnes to 41,185 tonnes.

"The industry is monitoring for impact on Australian export demand into Europe flowing from the recently ratified New Zealand-EU Free Trade Agreement. Delays to the Indonesian market have also been experienced this year.

"As has been the case in previous years, small quantities of fresh onions from North America continue to be imported into Australia. Australia also imports some 'semi-processed' (chilled/peeled/washed) onions. These are predominantly used in the food service sector. China, the Netherlands and the United States are the primary source countries of these imports," explained Coote.

There was a 27 per cent decrease in semi-processed onion import value from January to December 2023, from $8 million to $5.8 million and a 9 per cent decrease in import volume from 6,334 tonnes to 5,762 tonnes.

Sources: Horticulture Statistics Handbook, Global Trade Atlas

For more information:
Tom Bicknell
Tel: +61 3 9882 0277
[email protected]