May 13, 2016
Onion Industry Strategy Delivering Increased Export Earnings
Onions New Zealand Inc says with 75% of this season’s crop shipped, the industry is pleased with the direction it’s
“Returns are expected to be up 50% on last year,” chief executive Michael Ahern says.
“This means an increase from $81 million to $125 million FoB. This forecasted result will re-assert onions position as
the third largest fresh horticulture export item after kiwifruit and pipfruit.”
For many years the onion industry has been New Zealand’s largest fresh vegetable export earner but has held a lower
profile compared to its high-flying fresh fruit export cousins.
“With these types of returns the onion industry is lifting its profile when it comes to capturing government agency
attention and assisting policy decisions.”
“NZ started exporting onions over 50 years ago and now has 45 markets worldwide. Approximately 85% of total production
is exported and all of the major industry operators are 100% NZ owned. In the horticultural sector very few can match
these statistics.” Michael says.
NZ is the number one supplier from the southern hemisphere to continental Europe. This region accounts for 48% of total
NZ exports and sold through major retail chains. In recent years the industry has balanced this trade with Asia. In 2008
Asian markets accounted for 12% of total exports. In 2016 it’s forecasted to reach 41%.
“The onion industry developed a strategic plan in 2013 which focussed on 4 key pillars of Productivity, Export Market
Development, Quality Onions and Innovation.”
“It’s very pleasing to see strong signs that our strategic planning is starting to pay off. We are also a readily
scalable industry provided we have appropriate access to markets.” Michael says.