New Zealand onion growers celebrate multimillion-dollar export success

New Zealand onion growers are celebrating the resumption of exports to the key market of Indonesia.

Exports of onion crops were halted after new import rules by Indonesia required clarification, said Onions New Zealand chief executive, James Kuperus.

Kuperus said Indonesia had now reopened its market to New Zealand onions.

"This follows months of negotiations, but with the support of key figures such as Director General Horticulture, Indonesia, Prihasto Setyanto and the Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, the regulations have been clarified and exports have resumed," said Kuperus.

The news had been welcomed by local growers including Apatu Farms joint managing director, Paul Apatu.

"The strategy is to grow the Indonesian market, along with other markets across the world. 

"We're pretty confident that long-term, international demand for New Zealand onions will grow," said Apatu.

Apatu said despite some nervousness that there could be some international supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19, things were going well.

"On a global basis, demand for onions is high and we've seen export markets making decisions to secure supplies, long-term.

"Onion growers are doing a great job giving the world a really high quality, healthy and great tasting product," he said.

Onions are the main horticulture crop exported to Indonesia, returning NZ$28 million to regional New Zealand in 2019. 

In total, New Zealand's onion exports rose to NZ$172 million in 2019, up by NZ$83 million on 2018.

New Zealand's horticulture industry is worth more than $6 billion annually to the country's economy.