Farmers unhappy about onion price hike when low stock

Thet Htain Win
Capption: Onion displays at a Pakkoku wholesale market

Pakkoku- Onions farmers are earning less profit as Onion prices are climbing higher when there are so little produce left in the hands of the farmers to sell.

At present, One viss (1.6 kilograms) of onions has reached over Ks1,000 (US$0.7) as the demand rises, sources say.

When the onion enters markets in the Pakkoku region, from May to end of August, the highest price of one viss of onion may only reach up to Ks600 wherelse in September, when there is little to no stock left with the onion producers, the price is higher.

When the supply is around 50,000 viss in September, the price was steadily rising. On September 17, the biggest onions were priced at Ks1075 - 1100, medium onions are priced at Ks1025 - 1050 and small onions are priced at Ks.900 - 1000.

“During these periods of time, supply of onion is low. In some days, only 30,000 or 40,000 viss of Onions will enter the market. Demand is also high from various regions. Demand from Yangon is high and we got good prices. This year, both onion growers and merchants are not having a good time. Onion merchants buy onions at Ks500 and as time goes by, onions get drier and they couldn’t be stored any longer. So, onion merchants will sell them off even at Ks500. That’s why there are low profits for onion merchants,” said an onion merchant in Pakkoku.

Onions are grown in Yaw and Kyaw creeks in Pauk Township in Pakkoku. In the onion planting season, farmers face challenges such as rise in nursery plants, scarcity of labourers and other expenditures and so the cost for one viss of onion was above Ks.600.

Onions from Pale in Sagaing region, Min Taing Pin region, Seik Phyu onion in Pauk region, entered Pakkoku onion market and sold entire Myanmar including border towns.

This year, after planting onions, unseasonal rain in the area caused flooding in the onion plantations. As a result, in the onion harvest season, farmers faced losses and less in yield compare with previous year.

In 2017, a viss of onion reached Ks3000 and onion farmers profited from the rise of price. Around 100,000 viss entered Pakkoku market last year.