Lighter onion production in New Zealand and to a lesser extent Australia could increase export prices this year. Both industries have cut back on planting after profits fell in 2000. New Zealand all but lost its summer slot in the UK because of heavy European crops. Planting could be further affected by torrential rains and flooding. On the other hand the UK multiples have been showing increasing interest in white skinned sweet onions grown in increasing quantities in South America. As the spring season gets under way, growers are optimistic. World onion trade has been growing at around 4.5% a year, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), and stands at 3.1 million tonnes. {{M/E FRESH PRODUCE }}