"Gerard Hoekman (Mulder Onions): "Quality varies"

Netherlands: Fair demand for onions from traditional export markets

At the moment there is a reasonable demand for onions from traditional export markets like Africa, Central America, Europe and the Far East. Nevertheless, Gerard Hoekman of Dutch company Mulder Onions could use a few more: "We could really use some unexpected customers," he says, "because we still have a lot of onions left."

The December market is notoriously difficult to predict, the importer knows. This year is particularly hard to call. "Shipowners have stated they will raise ocean freight rates next year. It's hard to tell how many buyers will order ahead to avoid the increased rates. Also, with the holidays, December is a short month: pressure to deliver will be higher than usual."

Onion quality varies, according to Mulder. "Both red and yellow onions are suffering from root rot. It's vital to keep monitoring crops. Here in the Netherlands things are all right so far, but once shipped these onions will be at sea for weeks. Our domestic onion sector really has to keep up quality, or buyers will shift their business to New Zealand first chance they get!"

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