In 2021, Niger produced 1.35 million tonnes of onions, according to official records. Photo: AP

Ghanaian traders are fearing that there would be a shortage of onions after the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, imposed sanctions on Niger following a coup against President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

Ghana imports close to 70% of its onions from Niger, an official of the Onion Sellers Association of Ghana said.

“If Niger’s borders remain closed for long, it will really affect our onion business. It will lead to hikes in prices,” Ali Umar, a representative of the onion sellers, told Ghana News Agency.

Nigeria accounts for 20% of the onions sold in Ghana, while Burkina Faso exports about 5% of the onions consumed in Ghana, said Umar. Ghana produces 5% of onions consumed locally.

Unrestricted trade

Umar has urged Niger and ECOWAS to facilitate the uninterrupted supply of onions to the countries in need.

“The countries should negotiate so that foodstuffs from Niger can be distributed to the rest of West Africa. If there will be no movement of food commodities, then there will be a hardship,” he said.

In 2021, Niger exported onions worth $23.4 million, making it the 31st largest exporter of onions in the world, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

In the same year, onion was the 6th most exported product in Niger. The main destinations of onion exports from Niger were Ghana ($21.7 million), Cote d'Ivoire ($1.15 million), Benin ($451,000), Togo ($84,500) and Nigeria ($35,100).

TRT Afrika and agencies