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Characteristics of Onions End Markets in EAC

Characteristics of Onions End Markets in EAC

Key Findings

In 2013, the EAC collectively consumed 497, 843MT of red bulb onion, 79% of the 630,208 MT that was produced. Tanzania is the leading producer of onions in EAC region. Consumption of onions in the region is expected to grow by 49% from 497,843 MT in 2013 to 743,795 MT in 2020. However, during the same period, production is projected to grow at a lower rate of 12%. Implicitly, the region is most likely to experience a deficit in the future although the region had a surplus of 132,365 MT of onions in 2013.The staple nature of onions in nearly all households in the region and population growth are the biggest drivers of onion consumption in the EAC. However, the small quantities of onion used by household render the commodity income inelastic, although the opposite is true in Kenya where spring onion is a perfect substitute.Of the four East African countries studied: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, Rwanda is an onion-deficit country with a consumption demand gap of 996MT of onion by 2013. In the coastal region of Kenya, the market deficit is more than 60%, equivalent to 3,846 MT annually. This is mainly because the region has the highest consumption rate in the country yet, it does not produce onion.

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