The weather is currently largely determining the onion market. "That's still uncertain, even for the weekend ahead. At first, there was too little rain harvesting, and in many places, irrigation was necessary for growth and harvesting. Now, as the finish line nears, many places are getting too much rain to harvest," says Adrie Kleinjan of Kleinjan's Aardappelhandel in the Netherlands.
"That's disrupting the market a little, following a situation where we could plan everything well. I'm sure the potatoes can be harvested well. The good Lord promised that as long as the earth exists, sowing and harvesting won't stop. The only question is how the potatoes' quality will look after being grubbed from the wet soil. It will take time and a lot of energy to dry them. With all the costs involved now, that's one of the biggest issues."
"Exports, including to new destinations, went well when the season started. Now, however, all the increased costs are making potatoes too expensive for some places, especially African countries. Fortunately, we have buyers in Eastern Europe who are a little more willing to pay the current prices. That offers the opportunity to broaden exports somewhat. And exports are what triggered the current market situation. The industry focuses strongly on contracted potatoes, buying hardly any free potatoes," continues Adrie.
"I don't think potato prices are too high. But the additional costs make it an expensive product for consumers elsewhere in the world. In the Netherlands, we spend ten to 15% of our disposable income on food."
"However, there are areas where this rises to 80-85%. Those people are facing rising costs too, which makes it difficult to export full bore at the moment," says Kleinjan.
"We also mustn't forget that all products are dealing with sharply increased 'extra' costs. However, potatoes are highly nutritious and cheap compared to things like meat, fish, and vegetables. It's also challenging getting money from those areas, which greatly inhibits volumes."
"Growers who store their potatoes understandably want higher prices. What with all the drying and storage costs they're currently incurring. Whether they'll get those prices is another matter. I certainly don't want to talk the market down, but the current costs make it extremely difficult to continue at the present price level," Adrie concludes.