Netherlands: 'Onion market not spectacular'

There's not much life in the onion trade yet. "The export is going slowly. Export to Brazil is a lot more calm, Eastern Europe isn't interested as yet, and nobody is willing to gamble on markets where more demand will arise. So everyone stays close to home, and so the market is as lazy and slow as it is today. Countries like Germany and France have somewhat higher demand, but all in all it's not outrageous," Gerard Hoekman of Mulder Onions concludes.

"It's not easy," his colleague Piet van Liere of Gebr. van Liere agrees. "Before Easter, it's always a bit busier, but across the board it is getting tense. South America was a driving force for a long time, but is nearing its end. Eastern Europe is interested, but at low prices, which doesn't match the current farmers' price."

Therefore, Gerard expects the market will continue to be slow in the coming weeks. "The main thing is to keep selling. A lot of uncertainty is surrounding the market. Prices are at a level of 11 to 14 cents, depending on quality. It's expected that we'll make do with the current export figures, but that remains to be seen. It used to be that a grower would sell his storage and be empty. Nowadays it goes in small batches, which is a lot less transparent."

"The way things are now, there is plenty in stock, but it's difficult to estimate," Piet says. "On average, the quality is a lot better than in other years, but it is deteriorating, and here and there some wear and tear is showing. In the upcoming weeks, there will still be tension between supply and demand. The export price levels are too low, causing tension between farmers' prices and export."

For imported onion, there isn't much room on the market at the moment. "We've had the first New Zealand onions for a while now, but those sales are progressing very slowly. The volumes are still limited now. All European countries have their own onions, supplemented with Dutch onions, which are generally of good quality. I only expect sales of imported onions to really improve toward the end of April," Gerard concludes.


Publication date: 4/7/2015