A few days ago, farmers in the Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan, the southernmost region of the country, began harvesting early winter onions. The first small batches of several tonnes are already being shipped to the markets of the region and nearby, EastFruit specialists inform.
When can we expect large volumes of onions to become available on the wholesale markets of the country and when will exports of Uzbek onions of the new crop start?
According to Urmonali Usmanov, head of the consulting company VESAGRO LLC, large batches of new crop onions can already be formed in about 7-10 days. However, the ripeness of the onions of the new crop does not yet allow for their transporting over long distances. Onions of the appropriate quality and volumes available for export will appear on the domestic market no earlier than mid-April this year, the expert believes.
“Farmers of three districts of the Surkhandarya region (Jarkurgan, Kumkurgan, and Sherabad) have already begun harvesting winter early onions. Wholesale lots are not yet available, and small volumes are shipped to local regional markets. As far as I know, the wholesale markets of the capital of the country have not yet received onions from the new harvest. Under favorable weather conditions, in about 7-10 days, it will be possible to form larger lots, and then they will probably become available in the wholesale markets of the country.
However, the degree of ripeness of the onions of the new crop does not yet allow shipping them over long distances. In other words, the foliage of onions of the new crop is not ready yet, and it will take more time to reach the desired degree of ripeness. According to my estimates, chain-quality products and volumes of new crop onions available for export will appear on the domestic market of Uzbekistan around April 15-20,” Urmonali Usmanov explained.
January frosts destroyed the shoots of the “August” winter onion, which formed from August-September 2022 to January 2023, as EastFruit wrote in early February 2023. For the formation of new shoots and their development, additional time was required, and this led to an increase in the onion ripening time by about 10-15 days. Accordingly, the start of harvesting early winter onions in the spring of this year has shifted by the same time.
It should also be noted that Uzbekistan is the largest exporter of onions in Central Asia with an annual export volume of more than 200,000 tonnes. In mid-March 2023, Uzbekistan lifted temporary restrictions on onion exports introduced in January of this year.