In one short week, the Dutch onion market has shifted from relatively boring into top gear. "Onions will always be around, we always say. But I would not have believed a virus could have such an impact. People who would usually go out to a restaurant, are now using onions at home," says Lindert Moerdijk. He is from MSP Onions in Nieuwdorp, the Netherlands.
"At present, all the sorters are running at full capacity. And the onion farms parking areas are all full of trucks. People, all over Europe, have taken to hoarding onions. And it seems everyone has been advised to buy onions and garlic. When you look at how many onions are being sold, I understand why there is a run on toilet paper. But, let's hope this virus will not further paralyze this sector. The food supply must continue."
"Fortunately, we have enough, high-quality onions available. But stocks are also dwindling rapidly. At first, we worried about reaching a week export of 20,000 tons of onions. But that will now be easily achieved. There is not only extra demand because of the coronavirus outbreak. The usual high demand in the run-up in Ramadan is also starting. Prices are, therefore, on the rise. They have now climbed to about €0,25 in the bale. This is a nice development for growers - storing their product is being rewarded," says Lindert.
"This virus does, of course, affect business operations. For example, we are now taking the necessary hygiene precautions in the factory. We are following the news closely. We adjust these measures when needed," concludes Lindert. He has some last-minute news. After months of testing, MSP's new automated onion processing plant will be put in use for the first time this week.