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Responses from Ewald Gouwenberg and Gerard Hoekman:

Lots of onion, large export and steadfast farmers

The onion harvest is done. Demand is wide from all areas, varying from Africa to Asia, but it's hard to buy from the farmer. "In my view the quotes are still average. Farmers want prices of around 10 Euro, but those are prices that don't match the bail price. I expect little change in this over the next few weeks. It can only really go one way. And if the farmer doesn't sell his onions in September, he won't do it any more quickly in October. He won't be readily prepared to do so until February," expects salesman Ewald Gouwenberg of Waterman Onions from Emmeloord. 

Basic necessity
"Everything is neatly in the box and the quality is appreciated all round. Due to the low prices the Dutch onions are interesting for a lot of destination," continues the trader. Gerard Hoekman of Mulder Onion from Kerkrade agrees. "When there is a reasonably low price level, you can supply a lot of markets, certainly markets where onions are a basic necessity. A lot more onions are consumed there, this goes for all of Africa, but in reality for all destination. Markets like Central and South America are now also easier to reach."

Reference date
The bail price is around 11/12 cents. "A good price to work on the market. Due to the lower prices we have a high turnover in tonnes. But there are more onions - to many on paper - throughout the whole of Europe and they have to go first. The pressure will be on all season. I think the 1st of January will be a good reference date to estimate what we still have stored and what we still have to export," continues the exporter. "We also supply to Panama and Indonesia, but the export to Indonesia doesn't mean extra turnover in the end, as those onions tended to go through other countries, such as Malaysia." 

Ewald Gouwenberg doesn't quite share the opinion that there are guaranteed to be more onions all over Europe. "More were sown, and countries such as Germany, Spain and Denmark have good yields, but this is not the case throughout the EU. In other countries such as France, Poland and other Eastern European countries, the yield is very average compared to the Netherlands. And as far as quality is concerned there is some to be regarded here and there in Eastern Europe. Time will tell. What will winter bring?"

Quality question
According to Gerard the question is still how the quality of the onions will develop throughout the season. "Right now we don't have any problems, but we have to wait and see how good they really are. Over the past few years we have learned that if the onion is good on the outside, it doesn't necessarily mean they're good on the inside. We have had a lot of problems with fusarium and root rot. The big question is whether that will pop up again. If it doesn't, we will have a good product that we will be able to send to certain destinations for a long time. I foresee the same general pattern over the next while. I don't expect new markets to pop up any time soon. We will have to make do with what we have, and luckily it's enough."

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