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First-quarter exports of Peruvian onions show hefty increase

Exports of onions from Peru continue to grow. According to the Society of External Commerce of Peru, export volume showed a 22 percent gain in the first quarter of 2012 when compared to the same window in 2011. The value of Peruvian onion exports for this period was $5.5 million. According to the website,, the value of fresh onion exports in 2011 for the same quarter was $4.4 million. Growth in 2012 was attributed to increased onion consumption in Colombia, the United States, Panama and the Netherlands. These countries represent the largest global markets for Peru’s fresh onions.

The value of Peruvian onions exported to the United States was $1.6 million for the reporting period.

Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture provided the following national production snapshot of onion production by growing region: Lambayeque, 4 percent; La Libertad, 7 percent; Ica, 16 percent; and Arequipa,OpenerShotPeruvian onion growers experienced some weather challenges during the production season. While it is too early to tell how this will translate to overall size profile, crop quality is still anticipated to be good. (Photo courtesy of Curry & Co.) 54 percent.

On June 30, Northwest Farm Credit Services provided some global data about American onion imports and the place Peru occupies on the world stage. “United States onion imports for March 2012 were 75.88 million pounds,” the agency stated. “Onion imports for March 2012 compare to a five-year average of 69.57 million pounds. Onion imports within this period peaked at 78.594 million pounds in 2010. The U.S. imported 868.74 million pounds of onions in 2011. Annual onion imports compare to a five-year average of 805.92 million pounds. Annual onion imports in the last five years peaked at 902.48 million pounds in 2007. Mexico, Peru, Canada and Chile were the United States’ leading sources of imported onions in 2011, representing 88 percent of onions imported by value.”

In its publication, Vegetables and Melons Yearbook Data published on May 19, 2011, the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the import value of fresh onions from Peru was $24.116 million for 2010.

The National Potato and Onion Report, Vol. XCIV, No. 152, issued in Idaho Falls, ID, on Aug. 7, reported that a total of 75,390 400-hundredweight of Peruvian onions moved through the domestic pipeline during 2011.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reported on current Peruvian onion shipments during the period July 29 through Aug. 4. According to the report, a total of 39 40,000-pound packages were imported at that time. Total movement this season through Aug. 4 was reported at 55 40,000-pound packages, up significantly from 2011.

Looking at the current season with a reporting date of Aug. 7, AMS also stated that supplies of Peruvian onions were fairly light with moderate demand. The market was noted as steady. The f.o.b. for 40-pound cartons of yellow Granex onions marked as sweet and repacked at various East Coast shipping points was as follows: colossal, $22-$23; and jumbo, $22-$24. “This represents the price for open spot market sales by first handlers on product of generally good quality and condition unless otherwise stated,” AMS noted.

On the same date, the National Potato and Onion Report said, “Movement [is] expected to increase as more shippers receive supplies. Trading is fairly active.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, implemented in 2009, has had a positive impact on trade between the two countries. According to the agency’s website, “The TPA also provides favorable access for U.S. service suppliers, as well as guarantees of protection to U.S. investors and U.S. copyrights, trademarks and patents registered in Peru. In addition, Peru has opened up significant government procurements to U.S. bidders.

“Peru is a growing market for U.S. exporters. In 2010, Peru experienced a stable exchange rate, low inflation, low unemployment and an economic growth rate of nearly 10 percent. The U.S.-Peru TPA provides a framework to make Peru an excellent place to do business.”

The 2012 CIA World Factbook, updated this past February, provided some additional insights about the Peruvian economy. “The administration seems committed to Peru’s free trade path,” the website stated. “Since 2006, Peru has signed trade deals with the United States, Canada, Singapore, China, Korea and Japan, concluded negotiations with the European Free Trade Association and Chile, and begun trade talks with Central American countries and others.”

On July 17, the Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times reported that Peru’s economy grew at a rate of 6.47 percent this past May. “The agriculture sector gained 7.75 percent in May,” the publication stated.