Riyadh, February 8, 2024, The Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSC) emphasized that the current onion supply-chain challenges and subsequent price surges are global phenomena that transcend the confines of the Saudi market.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the FSC sought to allay public concerns by affirming that the Saudi market remains resilient against any potential onion shortages.
According to the FSC's declaration, local onion production in 2023 reached approximately 365,000 tons, satisfying 52% of the Kingdom's total consumption, which stood at 702,000 tons. The remaining onion requirements were met through imports from overseas.
Attributing the disruptions in supply chains and diminished production levels in exporting nations to the prevailing global circumstances, the FSC pointed to a worldwide upsurge in onion prices. Consequently, this crisis has prompted a reduction in the Kingdom's onion imports from certain countries.
The FSC underscored its collaboration with relevant authorities to oversee the abundance of onion crops domestically, foster local cultivation, and monitor contracts with suppliers. Additionally, concerted efforts are underway to diversify onion import sources from various nations to meet domestic market demands.
As part of ongoing crisis mitigation measures, the Food Abundance Committee, in conjunction with the FSC's National Committee for Agriculture, conducted a study on October 1 to evaluate the impact of a three-month ban on onion exports imposed by a particular country.
Consequently, it was recommended that the committee closely monitor local supply, stocks, and private sector contracts in collaboration with competent authorities. Moreover, the committee was tasked with incentivizing local farmers to cultivate onions through operational loans from the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF).
In the same vein, onion importers and local farmers were urged during the same month to implement necessary measures to ensure a consistent onion supply and broaden import sources by engaging in imports from diverse countries worldwide.
Looking ahead, the FSC anticipates onion prices to stabilize and a sufficient supply to return to the Saudi market starting in February, coinciding with the onset of local harvests to meet market demands.