India’s fresh onion exports jumped 49 per cent in volume to 1.72 million tonnes (mt) and gained 15 per cent in dollar terms at $394 million during the first nine months of the current fiscal compared with the same period a year ago on robust demand from South-East Asian countries and West Asia.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA), which has taken several steps including the creation of an Onion Export Promotion Forum, is confident that the shipments for the financial year 2022-23 will exceed last year’s levels on higher supplies and rising demand from key buyers such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia among other countries.
“As per the trade feedback at present, the demand for Indian onions is increasing in the international market and we expect the shipments to exceed last year’s levels,” said APEDA Chairman, M Angamuthu. India exported onions worth $460 million in 2021-22 and major destinations were Bangladesh, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, Qatar, Vietnam, Oman, Kuwait, Singapore, Saudi Arab, Bahrain, Maldives and Mauritius.
India, which accounts for about a fourth of the global onion output, is the third largest exporter after Netherlands and Mexico. In a bid to give further impetus to onion shipments, APEDA has taken up initiatives such as regular interaction with the trade for addressing the issues in supply chain, sensitisation of trade towards compliance of standards prescribed by the importing countries and regular follow-up with concerned stakeholders including government agencies, Indian missions abroad, exporters, R&D institutions among others, Angamuthu said.
Ajit Shah, President, Horticulture Produce Exporters Association, said while the exports are good, the growth in overseas demand is not in sync with the rise in our production. “Due to the impact of the ban on exports imposed by India in 2019-20, countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Bangladesh among others, which are key buyers of onions, have started growing their own product, affecting the demand. Moreover, countries like the Philippines tend to favour Chinese onions and are not importing from us,” Shah said.
Further, Shah said though the exports may grow in volume terms, in value terms the shipments are likely to hover around last year’s levels as prices have come down this year.