Onion crisis in Europe

04 February 2020
Onion crisis in Europe

The situation in the European Union

In mid-2019, Europe was hit by an onion crisis. The fault was the abnormal heat that hit most of Europe in the summer of 2018. Moreover, in regions where there is usually a lot of rain, there was no rain for about two months. Because of this, most of the onion harvest was lost. For this reason, the whole of Europe faced an acute shortage of this vegetable in 2019, which led to a strong price increase. In Germany, for example, the price of the product almost doubled in a few months. In this situation many European countries had to start buying onions from Central Asian countries. Germany, for example, imports onions from Uzbekistan, while the Netherlands, which was the world leader in onion export, now has to buy them from Kazakhstan. Due to sharply increased demand, the export price of this vegetable almost tripled in Central Asian countries. In just a few days, the cost of onions in Tajikistan increased by 325% to 260 USD per ton. Prices in Uzbekistan have also increased from 100 to 300 USD per ton. European countries have not even stopped the fact that these countries do not have manufacturers certified according to GlobalG.A.P. standards, nor do they have special equipment for packing and calibration of onions. The export of onions brought Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries over 700% profit.

The situation in Belorussia and Ukraine

In Ukraine, the area sown with onions has been constantly decreasing over the past few years. This was primarily due to the low prices of the product. Many farmers and producers reoriented on growing carrots, potatoes and other more profitable vegetables. And in 2018, most of the onion crop was destroyed by drought. As a result, the price of the product jumped sharply in 2019 and now stands at around $1,200 per ton. Fyodor Rybalko, head of the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association, attributes high prices for vegetables to the weather, which, according to him, "can be influenced neither by the Ukrainian nor the Dutch government. The Republic of Belarus was also affected by the onion crisis. In Minsk, for instance, a lot of export onions have appeared on the sale. Prices have also increased dramatically. The country is also forced to buy products from Asia. And since demand is still much higher than supply, the price will continue to grow. According to the Ukrainian mass media, the farmers again paid attention to the onion and began to expand their sowing areas under it.