UAE: Local Alternatives and Import Diversification to Face Rising Onion Prices

Consumers have raised concerns over steep hikes in onion prices across various outlets in recent times.

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consumers noted significant fluctuations in prices, with costs per kilogramme ranging from six to twelve dirhams compared to the previous two dirhams. Concurrently, the price for a five-kilogramme bag surged to around 33 dirhams.

Efforts to mitigate the global onion price surge are underway, as indicated by the Dubai Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Working Group. Strategies include augmenting market supply by sourcing onions from diverse regions such as Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iran. Moreover, expectations are high for an uptick in locally produced onions. Officials from two outlets affirmed positive market responses, citing ample onion availability and a wide array of imported varieties.

Consumers voiced their discontent regarding the escalated prices. Abdullah Hamad remarked on the noticeable price spikes, with rates soaring from two dirhams per kilogramme to seven dirhams. Mahmoud Ali emphasised the financial strain on families, especially with Ramadan approaching, urging discounts on available onion types.

Similarly, Samir Ibrahim highlighted the disparity, noting increases from previous prices of two to three dirhams to current rates of up to six dirhams per kilogram. Alia Ahmed underscored the price variations across stores, particularly with Turkish onions priced at six to seven dirhams and European varieties ranging from ten to twelve dirhams.

In response, market authorities have taken proactive measures. Mohammed Al Sharif, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vegetable and Fruit Merchants Working Group, outlined steps to address supply challenges, including increased imports and regulatory compliance. He attributed the global price surge to factors such as Indian export restrictions, supply chain disruptions, and elevated shipping costs.

Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki from Union Coop acknowledged market challenges stemming from restricted Indian exports and logistical costs but reassured consumers of sufficient onion supplies. Dilip Vishal, a purchasing official, elucidated the global factors influencing prices, emphasising the UAE's abundant onion availability sourced from various countries, including Turkey, Iran, Spain, and Pakistan.

Moreover, while consumers grapple with inflated onion prices, concerted efforts from market stakeholders aim to stabilise supplies and offer diverse alternatives, ensuring consumer needs are met despite global challenges.

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