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Wim Waterman, Waterman Onions:

"The onion season's second half should have a quota"

Could the Dutch onion season still end on a good note? "That would be great; we don't have new onions yet," says Wim Waterman of Waterman Onions. "The local fair didn't go well. Growers wanted to reach bale prices faster but couldn't. Their initial target was €0.15; then, at some point, someone gets more, and that target becomes €0.20. But traders can't always pay the prices growers should get."

"The season could still end well. The question is, though, these last onions' shelf life. It was cold for a long time. Now non-refrigerated storage temperatures are rising, and you have to wonder how that will affect the product." Wim thinks it is too early to predict the new season. "All of next year's price forecasts are guesses; anything could happen in the new season."

"What we do know is that fewer onions were sown. And the big question is what the dry weather will do to yields. Right now, not much is going on. August is growing month; that's when the kilos are determined. It being dry in August is a different story to in May," he says.

"That's also what makes the onion market so incredibly dynamic. If there are 30-40% fewer onions growing next season, we don't have to compete with each other. We don't make it any easier on each other. In that respect, there should actually be a quota for the second half of the season."

"What we're currently seeing on the market is that many Southern European countries, which used to take considerable quantities of onions, are becoming increasingly self-sufficient. In the north of Europe, demand is pretty good. But exports to Africa are at a low point now, "Wim continues.

"The Dutch red onion season is genuinely over. You sometimes hear that these never run out, but they have now. This season, thus, runs seamlessly into the Egyptian one. That, too, partly due to logistical delays, has yet to really get going. But there will be plenty of Egyptian onions."

That is not the case with this season's import onions from far-off destinations. "We're still running fixed price programs for those, but there's almost no free trade of import onions this year. There are many logistical challenges to getting the onions here," explains Waterman, "and people still prefer a little security. So, this season hardly any onions are being sent on spec from New Zealand, for example."

"However, the whole logistical situation generally significantly affects prices. If things don't go smoothly logistically, it impacts product prices. It even pushes onion prices slightly into the background. There's more focus on saving on logistics costs because this season's onion prices seem to be set in stone," Wim concludes.

For more information:
Waterman Onions
12 Hannie Schaftweg
8304 AR, Emmeloord, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 527 617 496

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