Dutch onion prices are skyrocketing. "You can make €0.70 for delivery in March or April. But the onion market can be hot; you must have onions available," says Mark van Sijll of Sijlltrade in the Netherlands. He established this trading company in 2018, focusing mainly on supplying the industry.
"That just goes to show that supply and demand keep dictating the market situation. Onions are currently very scarce. There are hardly any worldwide; it's as simple as that. Yet, onions won't just run out. Speculators own many of them, selling them time and again. Often at the end of an expensive year, there always seems to be plenty of onions to buy." Mark is intent on not being fooled. "I'm not going to compete for the last onions; let others do that. In my experience, that often leads to problems," he says.
Onions are Sijlltrade's mainstay, supplemented by potato, carrot, and beet trade. The company also brokers trade for several Dutch packers. Mark knows his way around quite well, especially with industrial onions. "I work with Yerseke's Jan Paauwe, who buys onions in the south of the Netherlands. I buy them in the north of the country. Many growers with shoots or fusarium know where to find us. We also import from Germany, Belgium, France, and Poland. But those countries also have little to offer at the moment. Polish growers, for example, can sell their onions well in Poland. There are plenty of peelers there who all want the scarce onions."
"We sell mostly to Eastern Europe but do business in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Belgium, too. We manage to find outlets for many problematic batches. One of our specialties is supplying 0 to 40mm onions to the industry. In the Netherlands, we're one of the few who do that. It's a fairly small-scale activity, but those growers still, at least, make some money from those onions. The onions still available are fairly good quality, but this year hasn't been particularly good in that regard. We loaded plenty of problematic batches, especially in the south and Belgium. There's huge fusarium pressure, though that's not yet very prevalent in the box," Mark concludes.
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Mark van Sijll
3897LP Zeewolde - The Netherlands