Martijn van Damme, Dacomex:
"Quality is the biggest issue for onions at the moment"
The demand for onions is holding up well at the moment. "We certainly aren't suffering from the blows of last year when the export figures were at 30,000 tonnes for weeks on end, but the demand is widespread. Central America is participating well at the moment, there are some parties going to the Far East and other than that Africa is on the clock," says Martijn van Damme of Dacomex. "We do see the returning phenomenon in large African buyers such as Mauritania and Senegal where these markets are hugely oversupplied. For instance, 13,000 tonnes of onions were shipped to Senegal for two weeks on end, whilst the market there can only handle 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes. This combined with a worsening of the local markets results in strongly fluctuating sales."
"The biggest issue in onions, however, is the quality. There are a lot of good supplies, but also a lot that you see decreasing in quality week by week. This makes the supply huge. Growers haven't had faith in the market since the start of the season and are wondering whether to save their onions for spring, considering the quality problems and the end of the old season. Because we can really only sell the mass of smaller sizes to Africa, and this export will decrease considerably from January, it is causing a very large available supply at the moment," continues the exporter.
"The decline of the price for the farmer is therefore a logical consequence in my view. The question is how it will relate to the bale price. So far, they are doing quite well with a level around 11-12 cents for the mediums and 14 cents for the coarse onions. However, I'm not ruling out the development of some price pressure, considering the overcapacity in the Dutch packaging stations and the desire for work that comes with it," says Martijn. "The market for red onions looks slightly better. They also seem to be of better quality and the coarse, red onions are particularly well paid for."
Publication date: 11/13/2017
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