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Italy: Movement in white onion sector

An important operator in the onion sector in central-northern Italy reports that there is movement in the white onion sector and prices are not as low as they were a few weeks ago. However, units are still filled with produce.

"The quality of the 2017 harvest was not exceptional due to the summer heat. I had to throw away hundreds of kilos because of thermal stress. White onions had high yields per hectare, sometimes with large grades. It's a paradox, but I had requests from the Arab Emirates for high-quality medium-small onions and couldn't guarantee continuous supplies so I had to refuse."

But things are still bad for golden onions. "Prices are even worse than 2016. I told some producers to leave the bulbs in the field as they would have lost money otherwise. It's not a nice thing to say but it's the truth. Onions stored in units are sold at 10 eurocents due to the abundant stocks available."

White onion prices hover around 25 eurocents. It's not exceptional but it's better not to complain at times like these. But it must be of good quality and white, not green or other colours. "It's not always easy to guarantee the right colour considering how summer 2017 went."

As regards shallots, the French are doing an awful job as they are underselling their produce everywhere. "They have large quantities available due to yields higher than usual and they are trying to get rid of them."

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