Japanese Onions plentiful, 15% cheaper than expected

Onions in Japan are in abundant supply and wholesale prices are 15% lower than normal. The supply-demand balance is stable compared to the previous year, when the supply was sharply higher due to a shortage of onions. Fruit and vegetable wholesalers are strengthening proposals to sell potatoes in sets with similarly priced potatoes in an effort to buoy the market. 

In recent years, May has been marked by unstable onion supply and demand. 2020 saw a drop in demand due to the new coronavirus, and the Nichinoh average price (based on data from seven major wholesalers in each region) slumped to the 40 yen per kilogram range. On the other hand, last year, both domestic and imported products were in short supply, and the price reached a record high of 200 yen per kilogram. 

This year, the average daily farm price in the middle of the year (through the 16th) was 78 yen per kilogram. Although the price is 15% lower than the normal year (average of the past 5 years), fruit and vegetable wholesalers say that there is no extreme excess or shortage and that the supply-demand balance is in place. 

Even with the decrease in Hokkaido production, the prefectural crop is doing well. JA Saga, which will be switching from early to mid-season varieties, says that “there is no borderline and the relay is smooth, with shipments up to 10% from the previous year. 

Wholesalers of fruits and vegetables expect to receive mainly L-class grapes instead of large 2L-class grapes. L-class Japanese potatoes are easier to handle for retailers and are in high demand. They are planning to sell them in sets with potatoes to be used together in cooking to improve cargo movement. The market price is expected to remain slightly below normal until June, when the rice planting season begins and the arrival of potatoes will decrease.

Source: Agrinews.co.jp