The Dutch onion season is currently transitioning. "Exports to Africa are mostly done. And there aren't large volumes going out to Europe yet. The new year started quietly, just like last year." says Eric Moerdijk of Monie, an onion sorting and packaging facility in the Netherlands.
It is hard to say if it will become busier, he says. "Most of that demand will have to come from Europe. Europe's yield estimates were quite high, which doesn't bode well. It's particularly difficult now to sell the middle sortings. Africa could do with those. But, those are generally not selling well enough at present. And those sizes are coming under pressure. There's more demand for the larger sizes."
"But, Poland is already taking onions from the field too. There are opportunities as long as our onions are of better quality and competitively priced. Packers are having to stay short-stocked. The mood among growers is fairly stable, with prices at around €0.10. But, the bale price is between €0.135 and €0.15. Once you've paid for transport, margins are very tight."
"Red onions are more expensive, and prices are quite stable. These were higher when the season began, though. These sales are, however, more erratic than those of yellow onions. The pandemic continues to play a role too. Exports have continued quite well. Despite that, COVID-19 does have an indirect influence," says Eric.
"There could be a shift in consumption patterns and, possibly, more demand. That's if the new coronavirus variants turn out to be less harmful and life returns to normal. At the same time, containers' current high prices and low availability mean shipping remains challenging."
"Everything has been going well, quality-wise, up to now. Poland has already taken the inferior batches. The question is what the quality will be like in the coming period. Things like fusarium are going to affect that. It doesn't seem MH spraying has worked. The onions on many plots have died quickly. We'll soon see if the sap flow has absorbed the spray," Eric concludes.