HomeNewsWhat a twist! Farmers in Kyrgyzstan are advised to store onions until prices stabilize

What a twist! Farmers in Kyrgyzstan are advised to store onions until prices stabilize

The collapse in onion prices in Central Asia during the 2023/24 season, which was previously warned about by EastFruit analysts in publications such as ‘Onion bubble – what will farmers do with all these onions from August onwards?’ and ‘Will Uzbekistan be able to avoid a collapse in onion prices?’ has led relevant agricultural ministries to brainstorm solutions.

Notably, the proposed solutions by officials are often quite novel. For instance, in Kyrgyzstan, the local Ministry of Water Resources, Agriculture, and Processing Industry suggested that farmers store early harvest onions from 2024 to wait for price stabilization. Officials don’t consider the fact that storage facilities still hold onions from the 2023 harvest a problem because they claim these onions belong to traders rather than farmers.

Apparently, according to officials, traders who paid farmers for their grown onions and assumed all risks related to storage and sales are considered useless market participants. It makes one wonder: if traders go bankrupt, who will buy onions from farmers?

Read also:  Currant and sea buckthorn boom in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan’s officials even established a coordination council to maintain stable prices for agricultural products. However, their advice is immediately obvious: suggesting storing early onions (which aren’t suitable for storage) alongside old onions already stored and waiting for other countries (which typically import Kyrgyzstan’s onions because they mature earlier) to start harvesting is akin to saying ‘with friends like these, who needs enemies.’

Other countries in the region aren’t far behind in terms of questionable solutions. For example, Tajikistan outright banned onion exports (even though nobody wants them), causing prices to plummet to critically low levels. Neighboring Uzbekistan went even further by setting minimum export prices for fruits and vegetables, which always hampers export opportunities and reduces investments in the industry.

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