'Onion crisis' will last until next harvest in Slovakia

The country is not sufficient in onion production. It needs to cover almost one quarter of its consumption from export.

Onion is one of the basic ingredients in Slovak cuisine.   Onion is one of the basic ingredients in Slovak cuisine. (Source: Sme - Tibor Somogyi)

While onion remains the most sought-after vegetable on the global market and its prices in many countries have broken records and continue to grow, Slovakia is reporting its own shortage. The shortage will last until the new harvest, estimates the Sanagro agricultural company, recalling 'the onion crisis' of 2019.

Onion is one of the basic and popular ingredients in Slovak cuisine. As reported by the Statistical Office, while last year a kilogram of onion cost an average of €0.69, in January it was already €1.10 euros, which represents a jump of 60 percent.

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"This year's onion crisis will last until about June, depending on the weather, but may last longer," said Tomáš Kohút from the Sanagro company as cited in its press release. Sanagro grows onions on some 30 hectares in its farm in Senec, western Slovakia.

The last 'onion crisis' in 2019 was caused by the enormous drought in Europe. Onion prices jumped by 150 percent year-on-year.

"This situation lasted approximately half a year; the situation calmed down in the summer of 2019," said Kohút. "We expect the trend to be similar now."

Based on official statistics, onions are grown in Slovakia on an area of ​​870 hectares, which ensures Slovaks approximately 78 percent self-sufficiency in consumption. An ordinary Slovak consumes 13 kilograms of onions on average per year.

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The Slovak Chamber of Agriculture and Food Industry attributes the lack of vegetables, including onions, to geopolitical tensions and adverse weather associated with floods in Pakistan, frosts in Central Asia and drought in North Africa.

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