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Simon Vale - Balle Bros

Slower start to Asian onion exports

The New Zealand onion harvest came a successful end in April with most onions harvested in good conditions except for a small amount where harvest was delayed by some poor weather.

"Growers are happy with the volume and quality of onions in their sheds," said Simon Vale from Balle Bros. "I would estimate that between 220-230,000 MT were harvested in New Zealand this year."

"Domestic demand is good for onions as we have had high levels of immigration into New Zealand, and so there are more people to feed. Overall vegetable production has been better in New Zealand this year, and as a result prices have reduced a little compared to last year."

The majority of exports to Europe were finished by the end of April and total volumes were about 10% less than last year. This was mainly due to the final volumes of local European product being higher than first thought.

"Exports to Asia have been slower than expected. Taiwan and Japan have had much larger domestic crops this year and Indonesia is later starting than normal due to late issuance of import quota. When exporting to Indonesia there is still a requirement to fumigate onions before shipment, but the New Zealand onion industry is capable of meeting this new requirement.

"We hope that an alternative phytosanitary regime can be negotiated before next season, and the relevant government departments of each country are discussing this."

New Zealand onions face a mix of competition, and it differs by market.

"The NZ onion industry operates freely, and I would say there is friendly competition between New Zealand exporters and of course, if an export market has ample supplies of domestic product, then their appetite for imports reduces. We still have good quality onions in storage, and expect to have onions available for export until September/October this year."

For more information:
Simon Vale
Balle Bros. Exports Ltd.
Tel: + 64 9 2370898
Email: [email protected]