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Agriculture

South Australia Tops in the Australian Onion Industry

Onions are a food staple and Australians consume approximately 11 kilograms per capita every year. A member of the Allium family, onions are Australia’s fourth largest vegetable crop accounting for 9% of total vegetable production.

Onions Australia is the peak industry body for the Australian onion industry, and the association’s most recent data suggests there are approximately 380 onion growers nationally. The Australian onion industry provides for both domestic and international markets. Two-thirds of the domestic market onions are grown in South Australia. Exporting accounted for 85 per cent of the Tasmanian market.

 

Production Statistics

The onion industry in Australia is considered ‘mature’, and neither the value nor volume of production has changed greatly during the last 10 years. Industry statistics suggest production levels of 240,000 tonnes are routinely achieved. The average annual cost of production is estimated at $361/tonne (ABARE, 2007/08). The gross value of production (GVP) averaged $181 M/year between 2006 and 2008. This is not significantly different to the GVP achieved in 2001-02. The value of exports has been estimated at $27 million (Clarke et al., 2010).

The Allium family contains more than 300 species including Leeks, Garlic, Spring Onions, Shallots and Chives. The pungent onion smell is caused by the presence of allicins which is released when part of the bulb is cut. This is what causes your eyes to water.

It can take from three to six months for onions to germinate from seed to bulb, depending on region, soil type and the location’s climatic conditions.

For more information see this Onions Australia article, or view more onion production graphs from the ABS. Current onion industry members and levey payers can access over 25 years of research and development on the Onions Australia website.

Potatoes: It’s All About Taste & Convenience

Australian consumers are buying potatoes for taste and convenience, according to new research funded by Horticulture Australia Ltd using the National Fresh Potato Levy with matching funds from the Australian Government. And they will keep buying more potatoes too!

In October 2014 AUSVEG announced that the first results from the industry-funded initiative, revealing encouraging new insights into purchase triggers and consumption habits relating to fresh potatoes. The results show that consumers see taste and convenience as major factors when purchasing potatoes, and this suggests there is an opoortunity to increase consumption among certain consumer groups.

“These results highlight the high level of importance placed on the availability of potatoes and, more importantly, emphasise the intention of some groups of consumers – particularly males and individuals aged between 25-44 years – to purchase more potatoes in the future,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Michael Bodnarcuk.

“The Potato Tracker project provides growers with market data which is packed full of possibilities and could allow them to tailor their offerings to target areas of potential market growth.”

The project is being carried out by consumer research organisation Colmar Brunton, utilising online questionnaires to sample wide cross-section of consumers.

The study so far has also found that Australian generally expect potato produce to remain fresh for 17 days, one of the longest shelf lives for a horticultural product, and that this expectation is typically being met.

“This report has expanded our knowledge of consumer expectations and global innovation in the potato industry, which will assist growers to better understand consumer attitudes towards potatoes, as well as their expectations” said Mr Bodnarcuk.

“Australian growers have always been trend setters, keen to embrace new developments and take full advantage of potential areas of market growth. Assets such as the Potato Tracker provide growers with highly-valuable insights, allowing them to understand where innovation is needed and gear their businesses accordingly.”

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing more than 2,000 Australian potato growers. Read the AUSVEG Press Release.