V&H Agroproducts opened its doors 15 years ago. Father-and-sons team, Ries, Herman, and Jelle Vreeswijk, run this Dutch onion and sorting company. It focuses on sorting and packing for exporters. "We don't want to start exporting ourselves either. Everyone has their function, and I'm convinced there's a future for exporter agencies. There will always be a market for Dutch onions," says Jelle.
Jelle and Ries Vreeswijk
Every year, the facility sorts just shy of 20,000 tons of onions. "Our flexibility is our strength. We can handle large volumes but don't turn away small batches. Our customers can come to us for everything - from bulk to palletized goods. We work mainly for the daily trade; hardly ever with contracts." All their employees are casual workers. "For us, that's ideal. A few days of downtime doesn't affect anyone," continues Jelle.
"Last season, we had enough work for the year, though. We were doing the older onions until early July, which wasn't very profitable. This year's market looks promising. Yields won't be as low as in 2018, but it's dry all over Europe, so there are shortages. But, the quality's good. It's hard to get onions now, and prices are high."
The company can sort and pack onions for third parties. It, however, focuses on onions. "We trade and process yellow and red onions and sort for third parties," explains Jelle. "We also have storage space onsite for some 3,000 tons of bulk onions and 500 tons of crate storage. We do the local transportation ourselves, and De Koster takes care of the rest. We also source our onion sets locally."
Jelle's brother Herman is the family's techie. He maintains, improves, and even manufactures machines. That ensures an optimal production process. Last year, for example, he developed a box unloading system. Developments in optical sorting will continue, the onion processor expects. "But it's just like with computers. Before you know it, it's outdated," Jelle concludes.