In the Netherlands, the construction of Dacomex's new warehouse is progressing steadily. "Everything's going to plan. The first machines arrived last week. We should be able to start working there from next season," says Maarten van Damme. The onion trade is dead-quiet. So he has the time to occupy himself with the new building.
"It's a very different market. When Senegal closed its borders in early January, exports collapsed. We saw a brief upturn in mid-February. A lot of onions were bought for delivery in March and April. That was in the hope that it would get busier. But that didn't happen. Destinations such as Spain and Eastern Europe have hardly entered the market. I honestly don't expect it to get busier anymore either. I think we'll continue at this pace until the new season starts."
"The last onions for Ramadan were delivered last week. Some onions are going to Western African destinations like Mauritania and Guinea. But there are many exporters in the same market. And there are many traders active who you never see otherwise," Maarten says.
"Everyone's on the market, which only increases the competition. And everyone wants to keep going; you can't just close your business. And then we have to deal with a worldwide reefer shortage. That makes it challenging to get the containers out."
"There are certainly still good-quality batches. There have been a lot of bad onions lately. But prices are plummeting now. So, they should be able to sell these inferior onions to Eastern Europe. Farmer's prices have dropped from €0,20 to €0,12/13. I'd almost dare say that after Easter, it'll be in the single digits. The light's still flickering, but it won't be long before it goes out completely," concludes Maarten.