Although the supply volume of Yunnan onions is gradually growing, the price has not come down, but rather it went up instead. That is because of a variety of factors, including reduced production volume, pandemic control measures, rising transport costs, and a reduced supply volume from cold storage. As a result, some exporters have had to delay their export plans. Mr. Wang, an onion exporter from Shandong, talked about current conditions in the domestic and export markets for Yunnan onions.
The sales season of onions from Shandong and Gansu is almost over. The price of yellow onions left in storage is rising. Only Yunnan is currently harvesting fresh onions and market demand is huge. “The onion harvest in Yunnan was somewhat delayed this year. The onions from Yunnan normally enter the market in large volumes in the middle of March, but this year it was late March before Yunnan onions began to enter the market in large volumes,” said Mr. Wang.
“The price is relatively high because weather conditions were not great, so the overall production volume declined. The current price of 80mm red onions outside the warehouse is around 2.0-2.2 yuan [0.31-0.35 USD] per kg, while the price of yellow onions is around 2.8-3.0 yuan [0.44-0.47 USD] per kg.”
“The prices of various vegetables went up as a result of snowfall in Yunnan as well as pandemic control measures earlier in the season. The price rise of onions is relatively small compared to some other kinds of vegetables. Moreover, the relatively low price stimulates market demand, so domestic product movement is quick.”
As for export, the relatively high price creates difficulties for onion exporters. According to Mr. Wang, “the factory price of peeled onions is normally around 300-400 USD per ton. The current price is around 800 USD per ton. The high price is a result of reduced production volume, and pandemic control measures. Many production areas go through temporary lockdowns, and the difficulties with the harvest, processing, and distribution push the price up. Moreover, oil prices are rising and that has an impact on transport costs, which in turn affects the price of nearly all products.”
The production volume of Yunnan onions is relatively small, but there are no other production areas that supply the onion market at the same time. That is why market demand is strong. Yunnan primarily exports onions to Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia. “We expected the price of onions to come down in late March as the supply volume expands, and so we started to prepare for the first export orders, but the price went up instead. We have no choice but to delay our export plans,” said Mr. Wang.