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Ton van Dalen, Best of Four:

Netherlands: "TOV under enormous pressure, cucumber market starting to recover, bell pepper prices have long been good"

The Dutch greenhouse vegetable market shows very different price curves per vegetable. For example, last week the price for large TOV dropped by 50%. The cucumber market is starting to recover. This is due to Spain falling away and the improved weather condition in Western Europe.

The balance between supply and demand in the bell pepper market has been healthy for a remarkably long time. In contrast, aubergines have found themselves in a difficult situation in the market since the very first day. Ton van Dalen, Director of the Dutch Cooperative Growers Association, Best of Four, takes stock.

Loose tomatoes
"The loose tomato season began better than it did in 2018. There were, however, increasing supplies and large import volumes. These factors resulted in prices quickly going into a downward spiral," he says. "In recent weeks, we have seen prices fluctuate slightly."

"They are between €0.35 and €0.55 per kg. We are not yet on the 2017 level in terms of price. However, we were about four cents above the 2018 price per sorting. The price for Class A was €0.60, and for Class B, it was €0.57. This was up to week 27."

"The year started better than last year for vine tomatoes too. There was, however, large supply and disappointing demand. This imbalance meant prices soon came under pressure early in the year. We saw minimal improvement in May and June. Prices were at €0.40 for large TOV. This is still €0.04 better than in the same period last year," Ton says.

"Recently, we have also seen high production volumes. The price is also under pressure, thanks to this. There was a revival at the end of week 26 and the start of week 27. After this, we saw the price of large TOV more than halved in week 27. They dropped to €0.35 per kg."

"The cucumber season started badly in terms of price. This, after an exceptionally good 2018. The cucumber acreage in the Netherlands has remained practically the same as in 2018. However, a lot of cucumbers - much more than usual - were planted in Spain. The weather also did not stay really hot in that country for long. These two factors made for dramatic prices up to week 26," the Association's Director continues.

"Spain did, however, fall away and the weather in Western Europe improved. These two factors resulted in a significant increase in consumption. Therefore, we have since seen net prices of €0.30 and €0.40 per piece. We can look forward with confidence to the second half of the season. This is thanks, in part, to the summer changes that are now in full swing. Along with this, there is the associated limited remaining supply."

Bell peppers
"As mentioned, the first three weeks of the season were dismal. Although it was better than in 2018. Or rather, it was even worse then. Spain chose to have many growers in the 'early' segment. This choice resulted in production in that country drying up quickly already. The products that were still coming from there were of inferior quality. This means they stopped earlier than usual," Ton explains.

"This, in turn, resulted in the correct balance between supply and demand on the market. From then on, prices rose to a good level. These have been maintained up to present. The prices do drop from time to time. This decline happens when a large volume is being produced. However, these prices quickly recover to the correct formation. We can then also say there is confidence in and for bell peppers."

"For aubergines, it has been a very tough market situation from the get-go. There has not only been a considerable - too much - expansion in Spain. There has also been a lot of production in that country. This has caused the market to be out of wack. There were only a few weeks when the prices recovered slightly. They then dropped again. We would normally have a better market situation in a few weeks. Let's hope that will actually happen. Then, we can at least make something of the season," concludes Ton.

For more information:
Ton van Dalen
Best of Four
40D ZHZ Trade Center
2991 LD Barendrecht, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 180 820 084


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