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Peruvian sweet onion volume to show uptick this season

Exports of Peruvian sweet onions may grow by as 10 percent during the 2014-15 season. In late July, Miguel Ognio, chief executive officer for KeyPerú S.A., attributed the increase to increased land in production. According to Ognio, approximately 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of sweet onions were planted this season. The expansion is primarily occurring in Arequipa, Ica and the north, Peru's main producing areas.

Sweet onion exports are an important part of Peru's agricultural sector. "The Foreign Trade Society of Peru reported that the United States buys 57 percent of the Peruvian exports of onions.CropOverviewonpThis season's supplies of Peruvian sweet onions are expected to show some increase when compared to 2013-14. (Photo courtesy of Curry & Co.) The value of Peruvian onions imported by the United States in 2012 was $36.2 million," said the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

According to the Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, dry onions were ranked as Peru's 15th top-producing commodity at a value of approximately $162.8 million during 2012.

According to the CIA World Factbook, "The Peruvian economy has been growing by an average of 5.6 percent for the past five years with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Since the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force in February 2009, total trade between Peru and the United States has doubled."

Although Peru cultivates sweet onions throughout the year, the current export season is expected to ramp up in late July and continue into late January. Some concern was initially expressed that higher temperatures in the growing regions might have an impact on sweet onion volume and taste profile. Ognio said protection measures have been taken to protect the onions. Volume was not expected to be affected, and taste characteristics are being monitored.

During 2013-14, a total of 122,000 metric tons of fresh were exported by KeyPerú to global destinations. Last season, shipments of Peruvian sweet onions to the United States were delayed owing to high levels of domestic sweet onion production.

Movement of Peruvian sweet onions is monitored by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In its publication, Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Shipments, issued this past February, AMS reported that a total of 2,078 thousand-pound units of dry onions were imported by the United States from Peru last season.

As of Aug. 8, AMS had not reported on any domestic movement for the current Peruvian sweet onion season.