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3 years ago

ThePartnership no. 15

  • Text
  • Vegetable
  • Squash
  • Smartfood
  • Radish
  • Onions
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Enza
  • Varieties

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America America is largely self-sufficient. They have enough storage capacity to meet the demand for onions all year round. Brazil is the only country that has a shortage for three months of the year, which is solved by exports from the Netherlands and Argentina. In North America there is a clear collaboration between the USA, Canada and Mexico. Various American onion farmers have established their production stations in Mexico in order to produce onions more cheaply. The product is exported to the USA from here. In addition, the USA also exports onions to Canada. The main production areas for onions in the USA – states such as Washington and Oregon – are ideally located for this. Processed product Most of the onions that are exported leave as a whole product. However, the onions that China exports to Japan are often precut. And Poland also often exports processed onions, particularly to North-Western Europe. This is the result of the convenience trend. Gajdos: “The onions are pre-cut and transported on ice. Pre-cut onions still have a shelf life of about two months. This export is growing strongly due to the continuous growth in demand for convenience, particularly in the USA and North- Western Europe. The Netherlands now even exports onions to Poland, where the onions are cut and then transported back across the border. This is done purely from a cost point of view.” Market demand We see that only the basic onions are present in developing countries, usually only one of the colours. The richer the countries become, the higher their demands. What do these markets demand from the product? “Uniformity, large size and singlecentered,” explains Crop Research Director Bram van Staalduinen. “An onion with a nice, single core is the most flexible. You can cut it into neat rings, for example for on a hamburger. But they are also easy to process into diced onion”. And it does not end there. Onions are harvested mechanically in almost all regions, even those that resisted this trend for a long time. For example, in South America. “This also has an effect on the breeding programme, because mechanical harvesting demands the use of specific varieties.” Globalisation and diversification Back to China, where traditionally only the green spring onion was eaten and not the ‘bulb onion’. Partly because this product is produced here for export, onion consumption has started in China too and is growing rapidly. We see this globalisation in other countries as well. “This happens according to the same pattern as in the richer countries: the demand for a uniform product increases and more different colours are sold.” What are the consequences of this on the export of the onion in the future? Do we expect that more onions will be exported in the coming years, or fewer? “I expect that the export will only increase, because the local retail organisations in many countries are increasingly demanding a standardised product,” explains Van Staalduinen. “It does not matter to them where this is produced. The expected climate change will cause harvests to become less predictable, meaning that the import and export flows will increase further.” Top 10 Onion import 2017 Malaysia 582 USA 550 Bangladesh 419 Saudi Arabia 377 UK 344 UAE 330 Russia 314 Japan 291 Sri Lanka 232 Germany 227 In 1000 Metric Tons Only ten percent of the total onion harvest worldwide is destined for export Top 10 Onion export 2017 India 1859 Netherlands 1137 China 922 Egypt 676 Mexico 420 Spain 337 Turkey 248 USA 195 Peru 192 New Zealand 190 In 1000 Metric Tons Source: Data collected by AMI Insight on the current European onion situation 18 | The Partnership “An onion with a nice, single core is the most flexible.” Lászlo Gajdos Every Year, Dr. Hans Christoph Behr of the German market information agency AMI collects the data of the European harvest and presents the results of the annual crop with an overview of recent global import and export trade at the Euronion Conference. He presented the leading import and export countries of onions in the world and wrote the following comments on the situation in EU in the first half of 2019. Some parts of the European continent were in 2018 hit by extremely hot weather. At 5.16 million tons, the onion harvest in the EU was in 2018 a good 15% smaller than in the previous season, the smallest harvest since 2006. This is due to lower yields in almost all countries. Spain, which almost had a bumper crop, is the only exception. Almost everywhere, after a wet and cold spring until April, the necessary precipitation was lacking. The area under cultivation also declined slightly in most countries, but the overall decline in area was only just under 3%. West of the EU This year’s drought was concentrated in the west of the EU, particularly in the southern part of the Netherlands, Belgium, northern France and the UK. The north, east and partly also the south of Europe were also affected by heat and precipitation deficit, but by no means to the same extent as the west. Supply situation The 2018 supply situation for onions in Europe offers considerable potential for speculation. The limited shelf life of last year’s crop is a great point of discussion. Repeatedly batches appear, which have to be marketed quickly and thus prevent prices from being increased in the short term, while aggravating the shortage in the further course of the season. Opportunities From the beginning of the southern hemisphere harvest or in the early season of the northern hemisphere, higher imports could dampen the price increase in Europe or even reverse it. On the other hand, third country exports of the Netherlands should be much lower than usual in the second half of the season 2018/19, creating opportunities for other exporters. The Partnership | 19