HomeNewsEgypt won’t extend onion export ban beyond March 30 – opinion

Egypt won’t extend onion export ban beyond March 30 – opinion

Global demand for onions in 2023, outstripping production, has put strong pressure on the local Egyptian market. Exports of Egyptian onions doubled this year despite a drop in acreage and volumes compared to last season, driving up prices on the local market by over 190% compared to last year, and prompting the government to ban onion exports first until the end of the year, then until the end of March 2024.


To comment on the government’s decision from an exporter’s point of view, FreshPlaza spoke to Ralph Nakal, of the onion and garlic producer exporter Tomna. Ralph says: “There’s a shortage of onions in the local market in Egypt, and the prices are too high. A kilo of onions costs around EGP 40 right now, which is very high compared to previous years.” According to Egypt’s public media Al Ahram, “In August, food and beverage prices in Egypt recorded a monthly inflation rate of 2.2 percent. However, the price of vegetables rose even faster, increasing 24.4 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent the previous month.”


Read also: Egypt’s frozen veg exports to US down after threefold rise in 2022 amid devaluation, food inflation and weather issues


Ralph is reassuring: ” We are perfectly prepared for next season. There will be a lot more onion acreage, which will mean more supply and lower prices. Every farmer who didn’t grow onions last year is doing so now.” Last year, a significant number of growers decided not to produce onions due to excess production and unsatisfactory prices in the previous season. This coincided with a worldwide tendency for onion acreage to decline, insufficient production, and an increase in Egyptian exports of “$129.3 million in the first six months of 2023, compared with $66 million in the same period the previous year,” according to CAPMAS, Egypt’s official statistical authority.


According to several previous trade statements, Egyptian onion exporters hope that the export ban will remain an exceptional measure of last resort. In the same vein, Ralph concludes, “With the forecast production for next season, I don’t see the government extending the export ban beyond March 30, 2024.”


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