The largest exporter of onions in Central Asia has lifted the restriction on onion exports – Uzbekistan has become the second country in the region to announce the early lifting of the ban, EastFruit experts report.
“Due to the stabilization of prices for onions, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has lifted the temporary restriction on the exports of onion starting from March 15, 2023,” the country’s Ministry of Agriculture said in its official statement.
We remind you that after Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan announced the temporary restriction on the exports of onions on January 20, 2023, until the end of April 2023 to stabilize onion prices in the domestic market, meet consumer demand and ensure food security in the country. Over the next two weeks, the same decision was made by the governments of neighboring countries – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
However, on March 3, 2023, Kyrgyzstan became the first country in the Central Asian region to lift the ban on the export of onions earlier than it was decided. About two weeks later, the second country in Central Asia and the largest exporter of onions in the region lifted the restriction on the exports earlier than it previously announced.
It should be noted that three of the five countries of Central Asia are large exporters of onions and Uzbekistan is the largest among them with a huge margin in shipments to foreign markets. Uzbekistan annually exports more than 200 000 tonnes of onions, Kazakhstan – 100 000 tonnes, and Tajikistan – 80 000-95 000 tonnes.
As noted earlier by EastFruit analysts, there was a downward trend in the dynamics of wholesale prices for onions in Uzbekistan over the past month under the influence of two main factors. The first is the increase in onion imports by Uzbekistan in January-February of this year, and the second is a sharp increase in average daily air temperatures in February and early March, which affects onions stored in improper conditions. In addition, the approaching harvest season of early winter onions in the country is forcing farmers and traders to sell the available stocks of last year’s onions quickly.
According to EastFruit price monitoring, from February 10 to March 10, 2023, the average wholesale price for onions in Uzbekistan decreased from 8 000 to 6 000 UZS/kg ($0.70 to $0.53), i.e.by 25% in a month.
Meanwhile, wholesale prices for onions in Uzbekistan decreased to the lowest level among the countries of the region, where EastFruit monitors wholesale prices for fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis. As of March 17, 2023, the average wholesale price for onions in the countries of the region was (in US dollars per 1 kg): Uzbekistan – $0.53; Georgia – $0.70; Tajikistan – $0.71; Moldova – $0.91; Poland – $0.97; Ukraine – $1.23.
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