Pakistan’s Onion Exports Reach $210 Million While Domestic Prices Rise

Pakistan's Onion

Pakistan’s onion exports surged to $210 million in the first 10 months of FY2023-24 (FY24), while consumers faced higher prices for this essential commodity in the local markets.

The All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association has projected that exports could reach $250 million by the end of FY24.

However, despite the growth in exports, it is the exporters who have benefitted the most, leaving consumers to bear the brunt of rising onion prices, as reported by local media.

A representative of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association attributed the price hike to market dynamics rather than exports. He mentioned that while wholesale prices remained relatively lower, retail prices soared.

In the first ten months of FY24, Pakistan exported 1.044 million tons of vegetables valued at $371 million, compared to 1.171 million tons worth $262 million the previous year. The average price per ton increased from $233 to $354, primarily due to stable currency rates.

Of these exports, onions accounted for 200,000-225,000 tons, with the remainder consisting of potatoes and other vegetables. Despite imports of onions from Iran and Afghanistan, local prices remained elevated. Additionally, exporters capitalized on India’s recent ban on onion exports to meet international demand.

In January 2024, the minimum export price (MEP) for onions was raised to $1,200 per ton, but this measure failed to alleviate local market prices. Meanwhile, exporters reaped significant profits by exporting high-quality onions to international markets.

Pakistani onions are now reaching numerous countries, with substantial shipments to markets in the Far East. The potential for further export growth lies in resolving issues with countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.