Jan van der Lans on the shortages on the onion market:

“In the coming season I even expect South African onions in Europe”

According to the preliminary harvest estimates of the CBS (Statistics Netherlands) last week, there will be 44 per cent fewer onions. It’s also expected that demand for import onions will increase enormously next spring. “You can bet importers, packers and supermarkets will be interested,” says Jan van der Lans, who has imported from New Zealand, the mainland of Australia, Tasmania, Chile and Egypt for years now. “Those countries are now considering themselves to be rich.”

New Zealand doesn’t have a larger production. “Planting is done. For now, the weather is fine, and they’re expecting a normal production. Volumes for the European market will be larger, because everyone there is looking for alternatives. In recent years, import was reserved for a number of importers, and the trend was to start with New Zealand onions as late as possible, and to buy locally as much as possible. Now everyone’s trying to strengthen their connections to New Zealanders, although I expect those exporters will remain loyal to their customers. They’ll need us next year as well, and the situation might be completely different by then.”

“It should be clear that the situation is unique. We’re currently mostly selling Dutch and French onions, but there’s just a shortage. I think the market is currently slow and expensive. We’re still selling some onions from the UK, but our prices are higher than those of British onions for now, although they also have a shortage. But the next few months will definitely be tense regarding developments. I even expect we’ll see South African onions here in the coming season, because those could be arriving on the market from mid-February.”

“Alternatives aren’t just available. You can buy onions in, say, Ukraine, but your customers also want to work with GlobalGAP, and they prefer socially certified onions. Onions won’t become cheaper, but on the other hand, we shouldn’t exaggerate either. Between 30 and 40 cent is now paid for Dutch onions, but we also sell 4.5 kilos of grapes for 13 euro, and 15 kilos of oranges for 12 euro. It has just been a while since this was the case for onions,” Jan concludes.

For more information:
Van der Lans International
Gerrit van der Veenlaan 18
3743 DN Baarn, the Netherlands
Tel: +31 35 64 22 622
Fax: +31 35 64 22 644

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