Onion prices hit tear-jerking high

YANGON — Prices of onions — a key ingredient in most Myanmar traditional meals — have risen fivefold over the past five months.

The price of onions was less than K1,000 (US$ 0.78 cents) per viss (1.63 kilograms) as of July 15, but had hit K5,000 per viss as of December 7, a report by the New Crossroads Asia research company said.

Traders blamed the price hike on the recent floods in upper Myanmar, the country’s main supply source.

But NCRA noted a trend in declining supplies.

The NCRA’s report said “the October onion crop has been increasingly delayed in recent years. This year, they will not be available before late December due to global climatic changes.”

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“The biggest problem, however, is that these supply shortages are not filled by imports. Markets for grains and vegetables in Myanmar, as in many other Southeast Asian countries, are highly protectionist,” the report added.

According to data from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Myanmar produces around 1.14 million tonnes of onions annually, and 94 percent of the country’s onion production is consumed domestically.

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