The export-driven onion industry says the past year has been a tough one, and this year will also be challenging.
Onions New Zealand chairman Michael Ahern told the organisation's annual meeting on Wednesday that despite an increase in the tonnage of exports in the past year, returns were substantially lower.
He says exports increased from 130,000 tonnes in 2010-11 to to 160,000 in the past year, while returns fell from $80 million to $65 million.
Mr Ahern says retail outlets were becoming more demanding and profitability was also hit by the strength of the New Zealand dollar and and increasing costs in the supply chain.
He says the coming production year will also be a challenging one for growers, to maintain or improve their profitability.