Categories: Articles, Crop productionPublished On: 8th March 2024

Agri Trends: Vegetable market report – Global onion shortages to influence local market prices

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Average monthly prices for onion portrayed increases, off the back of a decrease in volumes supplied.

Cabbage market trends

Average cabbage prices followed increasing price trends by 8,2% week-on-week and 29,2% month-on-month. Monthly averages increased from R2 476 per ton to R3 200 for the week ending on March 1st. Monthly price increases were supported by a 12,1% decline in volumes supplied across the top five produce markets. Average market prices for February are almost 50% lower than in February 2023, this due to the volumes being almost double in February 2024 compared to the previous year. Average cabbage prices are expected to depict a sideways movement as demand and quality remains persistent.

Figure 1: Monthly cabbage prices and projections

*Area in grey represents Absa AgriBusiness forecasts.

Carrot market trends

Average prices for carrots were noted at 12,4% weekly and 21,2% monthly increases. The monthly prices movements increased from R3 952 per ton to R4 788 for the week ending on March the 1st. Monthly price increases were supported by a 0,4% decrease in volumes
supplied, the market followed demand and supply fundamentals, despite following a unique trend for volatile in average prices and average volumes supplied. The quality on the market has improved, with the main supplying regions remaining Delmas and the Western
Cape. Prices are anticipated to increase marginally as volumes supplied are expected to increase during the month of March.

Figure 2: Monthly carrot prices and projections

*Area in grey represents Absa AgriBusiness forecasts

Onion market trends

The local onion market is currently supplied by the Western Cape region and small volumes from the Northern Cape. The Western Cape supplies mainly class 1 quality produce, with smaller numbers of class 2 grade onions circulating the market. The average price of
onions depicted a 12,4% increase weekly, followed by a 21,2% increase monthly, with prices increasing from R3 952 per ton to R4 788. Analysts have noted a decrease in volumes supplied, recorded at 9,5% due to Western Cape growers channelling most of their produce to global export markets. Because exporting onions is accompanied with favourable margins compared to the local market, volumes came down from 7 794 tons to 6 6960 monthly, for the week ending March the 1st. Prices are now expected to increase to levels seen in 2023 during April and May, when global onion shortages saw South Africa moving their produce beyond boarders, leaving local markets with volume shortages.

Figure 3: Monthly onion prices and projections

*Area in grey represents Absa AgriBusiness forecasts

Potato Market Trends

Average potato prices have started coming down from the second week of February, with volumes mainly from Eastern Free State, Christiania and small volumes from Limpopo and the North West. This despite delays in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga region’s harvest
seasons expected to commence in April. Weekly average prices decreased by 4,0% followed by a 13,0% decline on monthly averages. However, volumes also followed a declining price trend, seeing a 11,8% decline in monthly volumes. We note that the reason
for declining prices was due to a decline in quality of produce supplied, as heavy rains in the two Free State areas that are currently supplying the market affected yields. Analysts anticipate consumer demand to increase as we approach the Easter holidays, which is
likely to drive up prices towards the end of March.

Figure 4: Monthly potato prices and projections

Area in grey represents Absa AgriBusiness forecasts.

Tomato market trends

With early signs of volume recoveries between January and February 2024, volumes supplied have multiplied by almost 8 times, recording a 205% increase between the two periods. Average prices have increased by 23,7% week-on-week and by 4,7% month-onmonth for the week ending on March the 1st , this due to a 8,2% decline in monthly average volumes. The supply and demand relationship is observed to be unique, similar to carrots as the price increased in some weeks despite significant volume increases. Analysts note tomato prices to soften for the rest of March, due to increased volumes coming into the market.

Figure 5: Monthly tomato prices and projections

*Area in grey represents Absa AgriBusiness forecasts.

Source: ABSA Agri Trends

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