Poland's onion highly appreciated
Onion cultivated in Poland is highly appreciated by both domestic and foreign consumers. It is a synonym of tasty and healthy food. Poland, after the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and France, is the fifth producer of onion in the EU, with the share of 9% in the EU production.
Onion is ranked first in Poland in terms of the vegetable cultivation area. In the years 2015–2021, the onion cultivation area was at the level of 23–27 thousand ha. The onion harvest ranged from 0.5 to 0.7 million tonnes. In 2022, the onion harvest was estimated at 643 thousand tonnes, by 4% higher than the year before. The production of onion in
Poland is diversified in regional terms. The majority of onion is harvested
- in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship (39% of the onion harvest in 2021) and
- in the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship (24% of the harvest).
The most popular species cultivated in Poland is the common onion, which is available in many varieties. Other commonly cultivated species are also the potato onion, Welsh onion, shallot and tree onion. Commercially available varieties are characterized by a variety of flavours and a significant diversification as regards the colour of the scales. The domestic market offer includes onions with the spicy, medium spicy and mild taste and the white, yellow, brown and red scales.
In recent years, the export of Polish onions has been lower than in the first years of EU membership. In 2021, 144 thousand tonnes of onions were exported from Poland when compared to 123 thousand tonnes in 2009 and 179 thousand tonnes in 2004. The largest customers of onion from Poland were
- the Netherlands (in 2021 – 31% of the export volume, 45 thousand tonnes) and
- the United Kingdom (share of 25%,36.5 thousand tonnes).
In the eleven months of 2022, there was an increase in the export volume of onion from Poland. In accordance with the Polish Ministry of Finance preliminary data, from January to November 2022, 189 thousand tonnes of onion were exported from Poland, by 42% more than in the comparable period of 2021, mainly as a result of a significant (24-fold) increase in the export of onion to Ukraine (54 thousand tonnes, 28% of the export volume).
In addition, onion from Poland was traditionally purchased by buyers in the Netherlands (50 thousand tonnes, share of 26%) and the United Kingdom (34 thousand tonnes, 18%).
Despite the significant market supply from the good domestic harvest in 2022, the prices of onion are characterized by a strong growth rate, which has been taking place since mid-August 2022. According to the Polish Ministry of Agriculture, the net purchase price of onion in Poland in the period from mid-August 2022 to the last week of January 2023 rose from PLN 1.37/kg to PLN 2.79 PLN/kg, i.e. more than twice. The level of the purchase prices of onion in the last week of January 2023 was nearly 3.5 times higher y/y. The reason for such a large rise in the purchase prices of onion in Poland in the last five months is the increased export demand from Ukraine, caused by the smaller harvest as a result of hostilities in the territory of this country and the limitation of the harvest in some EU countries as a result of drought.