Dutch onions

New Zealand’s 2021 onion export season has got off to a positive start as a result of early shipments to Indonesia.

James Kuperus, chief executive of Onions New Zealand, said New Zealand government trade officials had worked to keep trade open with Indonesia and Indonesian officials had decided to release the quota early.

“Amongst all the turmoil created by Covid-19 and the weather, it's great to be able to report that exports of New Zealand onions to Indonesia are underway, two months earlier than last year,” said Kuperus.

“78 tonnes of onions harvested earlier in January left for Indonesia last week (week of 11 January). While this is small, it signals the season is underway early, and prices reflect the additional costs of growing and exporting during a pandemic.”

Kuperus said the growing season has been favourable for onion growers.

“There’s been adequate rainfall and the quality is very good. The drought in Auckland did not materialise and while water was short, there was frequent rain during the growing season,” Kuperus revealed.

Growers planted approximately 6 per cent less onions than last year and New Zealand is forecast to export between 170,000 and 175,000 tonnes in 2021.

“This was due to the uncertainty created by Covid-19. However, yield is up so perhaps the season will be only about 3 per cent down on last,” said Kuperus.

New Zealand onions are exported to 45 countries and in 2020 the industry was worth NZ$145m (US$103m).