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Philippe Dekerle, SARL Acquette - Ferme de l'Artois:

“The 2020 onion season looks very positive, despite some concerns about trade”

Before starting the new harvest, the company Acquette finished the season with fridge onions of very nice quality. “Then, we started harvesting short day onions on June 28th, followed by winter bulblets and spring bulblets shortly after, which should be finished on September 1st. We therefore managed to make the transition with only the French production,” explains Philippe Dekerle, manager of Acquette.

“We are now starting to harvest the early onions and we are very satisfied with the quality and with the medium and homogeneous calibers. As for the market, it was very active in July and a lot calmer since August. In my opinion, the onion market is ‘picky’ at the moment, trying to find its place.”

“In our region, we were not penalized by climate change”
Being located in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the summer heatwave was less severe than in the south and actually had a positive impact on production. “The high temperatures resulted in a very good quality. The lack of humidity prevented fungal diseases from developing, therefore strongly reducing the need for treatments. We are also in an irrigated area, which assures us yield and quality. Having irrigated from the start allowed us to save some volumes. The weather conditions also helped with regulating growth, which will increase the conservation quality of the onions.”

“We started our ZPR commitment this year”
The company was already certified HEV level 3, and this year, it also committed itself for the first time to the Zero Pesticide Residue approach. “We have an increasing demand from our clients, so two of the dozen plots we have are now committed to this approach.”

“I think that yields will be even better than last year”
In terms of yields, the company will produce between 60 and 70 tons this year, which exceeds its objectives. “The conditions have been ideal since the sowing, with a lot of sun and a regular water supply. We have the advantage of having relatively deep soil that can buffer heatwaves quite well. I think that the yields will be even better than last year. In terms of precocity, this year also looks better than 2019, when we had some vigor problems at the time of emergence and a delayed harvest. This year, however, we can combine the harvests of all our plots. If all goes well, we should finish harvesting at the end of September.”

“For the market, we fear the worst in September”
The harvest is going very well for SARL Acquette, but Philippe is a little concerned about the evolution of the market in September. “We fear the worst with a possible partial or total lockdown. The situation is very worrisome. Collective catering is indeed deeply impacted by the sanitary crisis, and we wonder if the share of onions intended for the industry will be strongly affected. Additionally, if export is blocked, the entire French production will end up on the French market. In the long term, the onion market is very worrying if all the producers obtained good yields.”

For more information:
Philippe Dekerle
Acquette SARL – Ferme de l’Artois
11 Chemin des Anzacs,
62450 Bapaume, France
Phone: +33 3 21 07 00 36   

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