The Dutch onion season is off to an uncertain start again. “Last season ended very differently than expected. Even the best punters got it wrong. That means there are still onions from the old crop well into the new onion set season,” says Lindert Moerdijk of MSP Onions.
“It turns out the dry weather wasn’t so dry either. These things ensured that the season started uniquely. Add all these peculiarities together, and we find ourselves in the middle of a volatile onion market. It will probably only start stabilizing by the end of September. In short, the onion season has begun.”
Lindert thinks there'll be slightly fewer seed onions than is usual for this acreage. “But it won't be alarmingly less. In the southwest of the country, crops are smaller. However, in other areas, the onion volumes look great. I don't think there'll be any problems with supplies at the peak of the season. Currently, destinations like Asia aren’t fully on the market yet. But, I expect we’ll be supplying all the usual destinations by next month.”
“Hopefully, the whole sector will get good prices. Compared to last year, we’re missing sales to Brazil. But, you never know what’s going to happen with that country. They sometimes suddenly enter the market but leave just as quickly. It could work in our favor if Brazil had bad weather. But, in that event, they’ll first buy-out other South American countries.”
“I’m confident about the next few weeks. I can’t comment on the second half of the season yet. I’ve never had a crystal ball,” Moerdijk says. “And in recent years, things have often turned out differently than everyone thought, in both a positive and negative sense. Concerning the coronavirus’s impact, I think this is the biggest in countries in, for instance, Africa.”
“They have far less foreign currency available. These countries are missing out on a lot of international trade. It’s making payment streams more difficult too. Of course, our red onion sales are even lower, thanks to the corona crisis. But I consider the payment problems to be our sector’s main COVID-19 issue,” Lindert concludes.