"This season was, once again, a top year for Dutch onions." This is what the Holland Onion Association writes in its newsletter. They go on to say, "At the end of week 24, export figures stood at more than 1,15 million. And so, remain ahead of the record 2017/2018 season. Even despite the logistical problems in the far-off destinations."
"The figures for the second half of the year show significant growth in the countries surrounding the Netherlands. The corona crisis was partly responsible for this expansion. In the second half of the season, we saw considerably higher demand from our surrounding European countries. There were urgent deliveries to, especially supermarkets. That was due to people's hoarding behavior. Home cooks, in particular, were storing large amounts of onions."
"Some processors in, particularly, Eastern Europe, came to a standstill. This demand, therefore, shifted to Dutch processors. Here, Croatia is noteworthy. That country imported no less than 2.6 million kg of onions. While, in the record 2017/2018 season, the export counter for Croatia remained at zero. The same is true for Kosovo. It imported 2,1 million kg of Holland onions. Poland, Moldovia, and Montenegro also came knocking at our door."
'A historic export event'
"Exports to India and nearby countries continued for some time in the second half of the year. India usually dominates in that region. Suddenly that country occupied 129th position on the Holland Onion's export volume ladder. Along with Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, and other surrounding countries, India is good for 50 million kg this season."
"This historic export event was a result of failed crops in that country. Climate issues caused these. It just reinforces the fact that Dutch onions are a vital gap filler when it comes to ample food supplies. Even the second largest onion producer in the world - a formidable export competitor for the Netherlands - can suddenly become dependent on Holland Onions."
"There have been several notable shifts in the export top 20. Brazil, for example, is fully back in the top 10. It's currently in seventh place. There, too, extreme weather conditions caused the sudden increased demand. Haiti and Indonesia have dropped out of the top 20. Malaysia's returned to the fourth position. They are taking their usual export volumes. Our King and Queen's recently paid a Royal visit to Indonesia. Holland Onion was on the agenda. An opening for Dutch onion imports was also made possible again."
"This season, the demand from distant lands actually remained more or less the same. The coronavirus pandemic has no direct impact here. As a Dutch onion chain, we might notice this more at the start of the new export season. We do have to deal with the fact that the dollar flow's drying up left and right. That's because many foreign exchange offices are closed. Plus, China went into lockdown in mid-January."
"That meant the number of available (reefer) containers decreased dramatically. It was a challenge to get enough of these containers. That eventually led to higher logistics costs for transportation. And that, in turn, led to a higher onion price. In the end, this price increase had a prohibitive effect on export demands. There was also limited availability of export-worthy quality onions. So, the market spluttered out. So, everyone's now focusing on the new season."