“Onions have never been so expensive this early in the season”

Tholen – It seems that the onion market cannot cope this year. “As far as I know, onions have never been so expensive this early in the year. It started in the offshore period when prices were already high. huge“, states Piet van Liere from FlevoTrade from Dronten. At the same time, according to the exporter, there is a downside to the high prices. “Costs have increased throughout the chain, but in the end the poorest countries are asked to pay the bill.”

“We see the additional costs across the board from cultivation to transport, processing and sea freight. Because of the war, the rising gas and electricity prices, suddenly large costs come into play. You see that with sea freight you suddenly have competition from the meat and the chicken industry, who want to pay more for their freight. To date, the high prices at the final destinations have been accepted. But the greater the share of the consumption pattern goes to food, the more critical people become,” states the exporter. “It is therefore important that everything remains affordable. Any increase in cost can be explained, but if the end user cannot afford it, it simply stops.”

The more expensive the bulbs, the more competition
According to Piet, the fact that it is still a battle for the last cent in the bale in the onion trade can never change. “There is still a lot of day trading in onions. And our customers are often the poorest people in the world, so the price is still very important. Otherwise, the competition lurks. You see that the more expensive you become, the more competitors A country like Morocco would otherwise never be a competitor in Africa, but it is now stepping into the gap because these prices make it attractive to export,’ says Piet.

“Africa is going to grow more onions itself, but often the specific knowledge is lacking and something needs to be done and the cultivation fails. Also, because of the population growth, Africa has to import a huge amount of food. food can play an important role in this . You can stop growing onions here, but then you can immediately start a Giro 555 campaign for Africa.”

Top sports
Piet is positive about the future of Dutch onion cultivation. “Onions will continue to be an important crop in the Netherlands, I am convinced of that. Here we can grow a healthy product with minimal impact on the soil, soil and climate, which we deliver to many countries. At the same time, onion cultivation has become more and more a top sport . is only limited and the pressure from diseases and nematodes is great. We have also experienced the consequences of climate change here in the Netherlands in recent years. On the other hand, if we have an area with 30,000 hectares next year – and it believes I’m not completely impossible – and once we achieve an average yield of 60 tonnes, we don’t know where to set the volume.”

He sees the greatest growth opportunities for Dutch exporters around the equator. “There, the extremes of the road have been very large in recent years. But you have no guarantees, you can also just get a year with good yields. Geopolitical decisions also have a big influence. If an export giant like India closes its borders, then they have also had a big influence. as it is now in a short time. two years ago, it offers great opportunities for the Dutch exporters. I certainly see the necessary opportunities for the second half of the season, but an expensive market is always risky. In 2018 – another year with shortages in the market – others production giants like China and the US had good yields, that’s still the question. On the other hand, other countries always come into play in the second half. A country like Egypt can also anticipate shortages by planting more onions.”

New warehouse in Swifterbant
Development at FlevoTrade does not stand still. At the beginning of this year, for example, the company bought an additional building in Swifterbant for the storage of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of products. The machine park was also expanded with a new deflector from Tolsma-Grisnich. “We will also continue to closely follow developments in optical sorting. People are very difficult to find, so we will have to think about all kinds of labor savings.”

Onions are by far the most important product for FlevoTrade, but the exporter’s range has expanded considerably in recent years. French fries, mayonnaise, chicken, rice and sardines are exported from Dronten to customers in Africa and Central America, among others. “It is a nice addition for us. We have year-round demand for these products. We have onion customers that we serve with this range, but also specific customers that we do not yet supply with onions. However, sales of these products are under Corona – under more due to the lack of tourism – had a dip, the market is now reviving.”

The onion exporter celebrated its 60th birthday last week – as you can read here on the page. However, he never thinks about stopping. “I feel fifty and still enjoy it too much. I have three beautiful daughters. They mainly have to do what they like, but if they are interested, there is always room for it in the company. And we are also internal people , training to prepare FlevoTrade for the future, but the onion trade isn’t done yet!”

For more information:
Piet van Liere
FlevoTrade Dronten
Staalwijk 15-17
8251 JP Dronten
+31 321 387 170

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