Dutch onion exports are not crazy at the moment, but neither is anyone in that market complaining, thanks to generally fantastic results. "We're at the end of the auction period," begins Rinus Wisse of Wiscomex, "and everyone's bought in enough to survive the first few weeks."
"So no one has to rush in. There were earlier fears that there'd be too few kilos; not anymore. But not everything's of good enough quality. That's currently benefiting growers reasonably well. Yet, it could just be that the current €0.30, €0.35 is the highest paid this year."
"Looking at four weeks ago, for export figures, we're some 51,000 tons behind. That's between 1,100 and 1,200 hectares. That usually increases over the last four weeks, of which figures aren't yet known. Also, plenty of onions from surrounding countries are being brought to the Netherlands, making those figures somewhat murkier," says Rinus.
"The last export figures also show that the countries that took more, especially European countries, bought those onions when they could not enter their own fields. Unfortunately, there's a longer list with a more structural reason: displacement by onions from other origins. We see this in Asia, but also Central America and Ivory Coast is an especially huge outlier."
"We had a good year, with sky-high prices, which didn't go unnoticed elsewhere in the world. Everyone with some understanding of onions has started growing more. That's why it's vital that we don't lose sight of our competitive position. Otherwise, those high prices will come back to bite us," Rinus explains.
"You see that, as reported earlier, where Chinese onions are selling for 30 cents less per kg in Southeast Asia. Growers in West Africa also had nice results from January to June last year. Slightly lower prices would benefit our position as an export country. But the market will sort itself out; all market parties, from growers to importers, must just make the right decision."
"At present, in the Netherlands, yellow onions are going for €0.45 for small sizes, €0.50 for large ones, and €0.50 for the supers. Those prices drop a little further every week. Red onions are expensive, but that couldn't be helped after the acreage shrinkage. Those are priced between €0.50 and €0.85, and I expect those prices to remain since other countries don't have excessive amounts available either," Einus concludes.