On Wednesday and Thursday last week, more than 400 people from 12 countries attended the 2nd International Onion Meeting, IOM 2017, held in Albacete and organised by the Association of Producers of Onions of Castile-La Mancha, Procecam. The event served to analyse the current market situation, with participants foreseeing a favourable development in the coming months, as well as to present the latest innovations in terms of production and marketing.
The current market situation was addressed at the Meeting, particularly the serious problem with the quality of stored onions across Europe and the prospect of those stored onions remaining unsold. According to Luis Fernando Rubio, Director of PROCECAM, an association integrated in FEPEX, this should result in a favourable development of the market in the coming months. He also highlighted the high number of participants, with people from more than 12 countries, mostly from Europe, the United States and South America, and also some visitors from Asian countries.
The president of PROCECAM, Justo Gutiérrez, also highlighted the presentation of the latest developments in machinery, storage systems, phytosanitary products and international trade tools for the fight against identity fraud in sales transactions, which has been negatively affecting the sector in recent months.
Five main topics were addressed during the two days of the event: markets, cultivation, distribution, export and post-harvest. The first day started with a market analysis at national and international level with the participation of Alfonso Tarazona, president of ACEC and partner of PROCECAM, and the German expert Dr Hans-Christoph Behr, of the AMI agency. There were also presentations of the main innovations in the fields of genetics and varieties, as well as about aspects regarding the product's distribution. On day two, there were seminars dealing with the post-harvest, including the processing and packaging systems that make the product ready for the consumer. The Meeting also hosted the international presentation of the quality mark "Cebolla de La Mancha", which aims to improve the value of the onions cultivated in the main producing region of Spain.
The 2nd International Onion Meeting was closed by the Councillor of Agriculture of Castile-La Mancha, Francisco Martínez Arroyo, the Provincial Director of Agriculture, Manuel Miranda, the General Director of Industrias Agroalimentarias, Gregorio Jaime Rodríguez and the Councillor of Agriculture of the City of Albacete, which hosted the event, Federico Pozuelo.
As a parallel event to the 2nd International Onion Meeting, FEPEX organised the Onion Sector Committee also in Albacete, which served to address issues such as the agricultural insurances for onion producers and the situation of this crop after the PAC reform.
In 2016, Spanish onion exports amounted to 356,693 tonnes worth 138 million Euro. Up to the month of August this year, a total of 224,414 tonnes worth 70.7 million Euro have been shipped, according to data from the Department of Customs and Special Taxes of the Spanish Tax Agency, processed by FEPEX.
As for onion trade within the EU, it amounted to 664,530 tonnes worth 272.3 million Euro in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, EU exports to third countries amounted to 362,251 tonnes worth 87.3 million Euro and imports amounted to 189,159 tonnes worth 113 million Euro, according to data from the European Statistical Office, Eurostat.
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Luis Fernando Rubio