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Spain: Great price gap between large and small onions

The harvest and marketing of Spanish onions started prematurely in August in Castile-La Mancha, Spain's main producing area, due to extreme temperatures in June and July. According to Procecam, the Association of Onion Producers of Castile-La Mancha, these high temperatures have not only caused the onions to arrive earlier, but have also led to a reduction of the calibres, and therefore of the production volumes. In the rest of Spain there have also been production drops, either due to hail or to heavy rainfall.

"While we normally harvest around 80,000 kilos of onions per hectare, this campaign the yield oscillates between 50,000 and 60,000 kilos per hectare, with Albacete as the most affected province," reports Luis Fernando Rubio, Procecam's chief of communication. "The constantly high temperatures have caused the plants to produce very quickly and the onions have not developed correctly, leading to an abundance of medium and small calibres and a shortage of large ones. This has mostly affected the onion varieties for sowing; transplant onions have suffered much less from the impact of the heat."

According to the Procecam spokesperson, this decline in production has already been noticed in the markets, since onion prices stand low but stable at the moment, enough to cover production costs. "It is also worth noting that there is a great price gap between large and small calibres," he added.

In spite of the problems with calibres, Luis Fernando highlights the good health of this year's onions, with very few thrips issues. Castile-La Mancha continues harvesting onions at the moment ... "with ideal weather conditions."

The Spanish export of onions continues to increase
Although the domestic market is very strong for Spanish onions, exports continue to increase significantly, according to Luis Fernando.

"About 47% of the Spanish onion production is exported, mainly to EU countries and to a lesser extent, to third countries, with newly opened markets such as Taiwan and the United States," he explains.

Publication date: 9/29/2017


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