Thursday, November 24, 2011

Onion prices dramatically fall

Thursday, 24 November 2011 14:35 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Heavy flooding around Pakokku Township in Magway Region has led to a poor quality onion crop and imported onions from China have combined to cause a sharp drop in Burmese onion prices.

Onion-price-fallIndia and China have reduced their onion prices, and Burma cannot compete with them in the foreign market this year, according to MOPA.

While Burmese onions range in price from US $450 to US $550 per one ton, the Indian onion price is just US $350 per a ton, sources said.

The price of onions produced in March and April is down by more than 700 kyat (about US $0.90) per a viss compared to October prices in the Rangoon market, according to the Myanmar Onion Producers Association [MOPA] and traders.

The former prices of No. 1 (Special), No. 2 (Latkyi), No. 3 (Latthant), No. 4 (Latchaw) were 1,400 kyat, 1,300 kyat, 1,200 kyat and 1,000 kyat per viss respectively. Now, prices range from just 330 kyat to 700 kyat per viss.

The current market shortfall has led some traders to import onions from China. Some traders who stored onions have now started to sell onions on the market. About 30 ten-wheel trucks carrying 6,000 viss of onions per truck go to Rangoon daily, traders said.
The onion prices in Rangoon are extremely low,” said Khan Han, an information official with MOPA.

In the country, a total of 20 million viss still remain on the market. Moreover, onions stored in Myittha, Myinchan and Nwahtoegyi townships in Mandalay Region will also enter the market.

Although flooding spoiled onion fields in Magaway Region, onion farmers in Sagaing Region and Mandalay Region are growing more onions. In 2012, a total of 3,000 million viss of onions will be produced across the country, according to the MOPA.

“Onion producers earn just one-third of their investmsent,” said a trader. If onions are stored for a long time, they lose weight and sometimes they sprout, so traders must sell them in time.”

An onion trader in Pakokku Township said the price of onions in good condition range from 200 to 400 kyat per viss. The price of onions in bad condition is less than 300 kyat.

“We divide onions into categories on the basis of their size. After the storms, their sizes reduced by half. In winter, if the colour of onions turns black or if onion sprout, the prices will drop by 100 kyat,”said a trader.

An onion trader from Seikphyu Township, at the confluence of Yaw Creek and the Irrawaddy River, said some traders are hoarding onion crops because of the decreasing prices.

Burma mainly exports onions to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Similarly, in August 2010, onion prices in Yaynanchaung Township fell to about 100 kyat per one viss, and onion traders suffered financial losses. Onion prices also dramatically fell in 2007 and 2008.

Because of heavy flooding in Magway, Pakokku, Myaing, Pauk and Seikphyu townships, a total of 106 people reportedly died and more than 3,000 acres of crops were spoiled, according to official figures.

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