The Dutch onion set season got off to a slow start this year. Demand's starting to loosen up again now. People are waiting for Senegal's market to open officially. That's usually the main destination for Dutch onions. "They'll soon announce when that market will open. When that happens, things could get serious," says Eric Moerdijk of Monie, a Dutch sorting and packing plant.
According to him, there are several reasons for the season's quiet start. "There are sufficient onions in Europe, and yields are quite good. Some countries have enough of their own onions too, even exporting them. That's partly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Container fees were also extremely high."
"You can't blame COVID-19 for everything. But it did have a global impact, causing uncertainty. I think many companies, therefore, tried to limit their risks this season. They responded more to short-term trade. I expect there will be more pressure on the market. That's because prices are at a reasonable level, considering the supply. But Senegal's coming onto the market. If the supply remains on par, the market will be able to remain relatively stable."
"Harvesting seems to be going well, but you must really choose your moments. We've had a few hot weeks when we couldn't do anything. We started at the end of last week again. But it often rains a little in the evenings. That makes for shorter days, in between the showers," says the packer.
"Onion set yields are good. It was still variable with the early sets. But, the late sets' yields were good. Sowing onion yields vary greatly. It's not a top yield, but certainly not as dismal as two years ago. The differences are, however, great. There are plots in the south-west of the country where crops have failed," Eric concludes.