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Ukraine’s surging onion exports: will the ample stocks last until the new harvest?

EastFruit analysts report that Ukraine’s onion exports are on the rise, while domestic wholesale prices remain steady at 13 UAH/kg or about 35 US cents per kg.

This means that as of early February 2024, onion prices in Ukraine take less than a half of those observed in the same period of 2023, and they are close to the long-term average. This demonstrates the remarkable efficiency of Ukrainian farmers, who managed to recover the vegetable production volumes that were devastated by the Russian invaders in the south of Ukraine just within one year.

Fedor Rybalko, an international expert on fruit and vegetable trade, estimates that Ukrainian traders ship up to 300 tons of fresh onions daily, mostly to Romania. He also says that the export of Ukrainian onions to the Moldovan market has resumed recently, as prices have been increasing there dynamically for the second week.

 

Given the growing pace of exports, will there be enough onions for Ukrainian consumers until the end of the season or should we brace for a sharp rise in prices for this product?

This question is undoubtedly on the minds of many. Wholesalers and farmers from Ukraine, who have high-quality onions in storage, are not eager to sell them. They mainly try to sell only the product that is starting to lose its quality.

If we consider that the domestic demand for onions is quite high, exports are increasing, and prices are stable, then we can infer that the product stocks are still fairly high. We should also remember that there is an abundance of onions in the countries of Central Asia, and the new crop harvest will begin in a little over a month. In Tajikistan, for example, the prices for onions dropped to 9 cents per kg due to this situation.

Therefore, these countries are now trying to get rid of the excess stocks of onions as fast as possible, selling them at relatively low prices. According to the representatives of the fruit and vegetable business of Central Asia, the early onion harvest in these countries will also be higher than the previous year.

On the other hand, the countries of the European Union are facing a growing shortage of onions, and there are serious issues with both the quality and the size of the product there.

In Ukraine, many onion owners are storing it for the first time. Also, many grew onions for the first time last year, which can also have a negative impact on its storage suitability. Therefore, we should not rule out price fluctuations in the onion market in the next months. Moreover, there may be not only periods of price hikes, but also drops, in case the product quality deteriorates rapidly with the rise in average daily temperatures.

EastFruit

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