Mexico has been a relatively lean export market over the last couple of years, and Asia has shrunk as a destination, Smith said. He cited Mexico as an example as having taken only about 30 loads of onions in 2011, compared to 150-200 in the past.
“We’re looking to ramp up our promotion efforts in Asia because we anticipate growing interest in that market for our onions,” said Sherise Jones, marketing director for the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, Parma, Idaho.
Some say exporters try to ensure they have product to cover all needs, not just volume.
“We occasionally go to Japan, Taiwan and Australia, but only if their crop is short and they want sizing, because we offer jumbos they don’t have,” said Chris Woo, sales manager in the Ontario, Ore., office of Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC.