28 Jan 2021

Onion exports kick off early after good growing season

3:36 pm on 28 January 2021

Onion exports are off to an early and positive start this year.


Onions Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

New Zealand is expected to export up to 175,000 tonnes of onions to 45 countries in 2021.

Onions New Zealand chief executive James Kuperus said a good growing season had meant the harvest had been able to get underway quickly and early.

"We export 85 percent of them overseas and 15 percent of them stay in New Zealand for the domestic market," Kuperus said.

Of that 85 percent, about 45 percent goes to Europe and 20 percent goes to Indonesia, he said.

"The 20 percent that goes to Indonesia is very important to our sector, so the success has been [that] we have been able to get harvesting early and start exporting to Indonesia."

Officials had helped the industry get quota sorted for New Zealand onions, Kuperus said.

New Zealand onion growers planted about 6 percent fewer onions than last year.

That was down to global uncertainty, Kuperus said.

"There was concern we would have been able to get onions onto ships or whether there was going to be strong 'buy local' campaigns in our export markets."

It was a conscious decision by growers to remove some of the risk and plant a little less, Kuperus said.

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