Every onion season is unique, but the past season will certainly go down as special. "Although we were worried beforehand that we wouldn't have enough volume to process, this wasn't the case. We had more than enough onions and work, although it was aided by the import," says Wim Waterman of Waterman Onions. "This meant that we unloaded more containers than we loaded last season, which is unique. Normally we are strong in Asia, but we were quickly too expensive there last season. However, despite the declining turnover, the season was good as far as margins were concerned. Onions are often plentiful but cheap, but last year there were less for more!"
The focus has now turned to the new season. "August is still a growing month and the onions still have a few weeks left on the field. It's too early to draw conclusions, this can only be done when the onions are in the boxes, as anything could still happen. We can already see that we have more kilos than last year and I expect a yield over 1 million tonnes," says Wim. "The quality looks good so far. The onions that were irrigated are slightly less strong than the naturally grown onions, but we are less bothered by soil bound diseases in the north of the country, and I haven't seen any moulds like head rot yet this year."
"The export will have to repackage itself again this year. In reality we have to conquer the world all over again. Last year doors closed quickly because of the high prices, but now that the prices are relatively low again, the doors will open. But we will have to push out the competition that has moved into the faraway destinations in particular. There is some uncertainty here. There is plenty going on in other countries, from droughts to floods. There are also a lot of politics at play, which means there are many destinations such as Indonesia, Panama and Brazil, where the door is ajar. Senegal will open again soon, but the question is when the borders will close again. But these challenges are common and we're able to handle them. Normally we can enter the world market with a competitive price, so this gives us a lot of perspective."
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