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A good start to the onion harvest in New Zealand

A good start to the onion harvest in New Zealand

For Balle Bros, the onion growing season in New Zealand's North Island is normal compared to the past two years. Adequate rain has produced beautiful early onions.

“Early export varieties have been drying in the fields since late December. Good weather is forecast until mid-January, so a good start to the harvest. We expect sufficient volumes to export to all markets from February,” says Simon Vale of Ballet Brothers.

“However, the prediction of El Niño weather phenomenon seems to be coming true, so this may affect the yield of later ripening varieties. As always, we are keeping our fingers crossed for a smooth harvest so that warehouses can be filled with good quality onions.

Forecasted shortages and an earlier-than-planned end to harvest in Europe and North Asia will see renewed demand for New Zealand onions in the 2024 export season.

Although demand is expected to be good, problems in the Red Sea will significantly affect exports from down under to Europe, as two-thirds of New Zealand and Australian onions sent to Europe normally go through the Suez Canal. Shipping companies that sail around the Cape of Good Hope charge an additional fee of about $1,500 per container, and the voyage takes 12-14 days.

“We are confident that the New Zealand government will ratify the recently negotiated free trade agreement with the EU in the first quarter of 2024. Upon ratification, import duties on New Zealand onions will drop from 9.6% to zero. This puts us on par with other exporting countries in South America and Africa.

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Despite potential challenges with weather and shipping, Balle Bros is confident that it will be able to supply good quality onions to many markets in Europe and Asia.

For more information:
Simon Vale
Ballet Brothers. EXPORTS LIMITED.
Tel: +64 9 2370898 (New Zealand)
[email protected]