India’s onion exports up 64% to 6-year high in FY23 on robust demand

Onion Exports jumped 64 percent in volumes to a six-year high of 25.25 thousand tons during 2022-23 on strong external demand and increased supplies. In terms of value, onion shipments rose 22 percent to $561 million over the previous year.

Shipments increased due to higher purchases by major buyers such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, UAE and Sri Lanka.

“Lack of competition over the past few months coupled with high external demand has helped India export more onions during 2022-23,” said Ajit Shah, President, Horticultural Produce Exporters Association. “However, we were not able to take full advantage of the global situation because countries like the Philippines did not open their markets to India, while they prefer to buy Chinese products,” he said.

Shah said the export prospects for this year look good. However, due to the unseasonal rains, there is a lot of damage to the cargo, he said. “Onions are abundant, but quality products are less. At present, the market is disrupted due to increased availability of bad grades and rain-damaged products in the market. How much of this can be exported, we have to wait and see.” Shah said.

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The new crop in Pakistan, especially from Balochistan, is also seen entering the global market and Indian exporters are likely to face some competition from the neighboring country given their currency is significantly weaker against the dollar.

“We have a good crop. We have to see how the quality will remain after one month, especially after the unseasonal rains in April and May and heat waves. Additional prices will depend on the quality of the future crop,” Shah said.

In the period from 2022 to 2323, Bangladesh continued to be the largest buyer of Indian onions with more than 6.7 thousand tons, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 4.03 thousand tons, Malaysia with 3.93 thousand tons, and Sri Lanka with more than 2.7 thousand tons.

Malaysia more than doubled its onion purchases while shipments to the UAE tripled during the year. In 2021-2022, Malaysia’s imports of Indian onions amounted to 1.70 thousand tons, while the UAE imported 1.22 thousand tons. “Demand remains healthy for Indian onions and we expect to maintain shipment volumes,” Shah said.

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture on May 8, spring onions were planted on an area of ​​11.08 lakh hectares, which is higher than the target area of ​​10.76 lakh hectares, but lower than the 11.67 lakh hectares of the previous year. According to the third advance estimate for 2021-2022, onion production is expected to reach 31.27 million tons, up from 26.64 million tons in the previous year.