The Dutch onion season is nearing its proper finale. "The last onions are being distributed. Many graders are stopping, and only those with commitments are still at it. But we're really at the end of the road now, and growers have very few free yellow onions," begins Wouter van der Beek of Bruin Export.
"Yellow onions prices are shooting up again. We're heading back towards €0.90-€0.95, so it's getting exciting as to whether we'll hit the euro mark again. And we can't say it can't happen, not after this year, which turned out to be all about fear-mongering. Even in a market where onions are still available until June, it seems there are buyers abroad willing to pay the current rates. That's the beauty of a year like this; everyone gets used to the high prices. Before, €0.30 to €0.40 was a great price, but in light of this season, that's not much."
Wouter van der Beek
"The red onion listings in Emmeloord rose too, though I find those hard to sustain. In fact, I think those onions' quality is declining fast. Only the mechanically cooled onions, stored in crates, are still reasonably marketable; as for the rest, time's almost up. It's generally been a wonderful season with plenty of movement and mood. Surely that makes the whole sector happy. Of course, the speculators sometimes got in the way, but everyone benefited from that in the end. I'd love another season like this one," Wouter says.
"But there are no guarantees, and we mustn't become overconfident. The acreage is swelling again, and should we get five to ten tons more onions from a hectare than last year, there will be too many onions. The too much/too little dividing line is marginal. The emergence of the new onions is good, and certainly, in the sandy soils, they're in good shape. In the clay soils, some plots have plant failures due to the heavy showers, but that's all very local."
"The earliest onion sets sales could be fantastic. However, there's a chance that the second-round onion sets will coincide with the early sowing onions. That often puts some pressure on prices, but if Africa is on the market and there's not too much availability yet, those onions should also manage to find their way. I'm hopeful, but we must remain realistic that off-land prices of between €0.15 and €0.20 still carry a lot of risk for buyers," Wouter concludes.