The current export season is already in its final stretch. However, with 6 weeks to go, the export figures are still excellent. Holland Onions says that a lot will have to change for the Dutch export of onions not to break last year's record. After the fantastic result of last season, when the 1.2 million tonnes were exceeded, this export season has also got off to an early start. The export of onions this season, up to and including week 21, exceeds 1,218,000 tons, with a total of 132 active importing countries. During the same period of the 2020-2021 export season, 1,136,000 tons were sold to 128 countries. This represents more than 7% export growth compared to the previous season. And this is even though large sales areas, such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, were completely lost this season as the main competitor of the Dutch onion, the Indian onion, managed to regain market share in that region.
Who drives the volume?
Ivory Coast continues to drive volume a lot. With 171,000 tons, this country almost equals the first in the ranking: Senegal, with 175,000 tons. What is remarkable is that the Ivory Coast reaches the market more than 5 weeks before Senegal with large volumes. It also remains on the market when Senegal closes its doors to imports to give preference to the local harvest. Senegal is a country in which production has increased in recent years. However, consumption is also increasing a lot, so imports will continue to be necessary during the period when there is no own harvest available. Other countries that have gained volume are Indonesia and Nicaragua. Exports to the latter country have stabilized this season, reaching more than 16,000 tons. Indonesia has been growing at a fairly steady rate to almost 25,000 tons. In Central America, El Salvador, and Honduras, they are also registering good figures.
On the Asian continent, this season's exports to Taiwan and Hong Kong have grown remarkably. Taiwan's import has surged this season from 16 tons to over 7,600 tons, making it the top 35. Hong Kong rises to the 49th position with real export growth of 774 tons, exceeding 3,500 tons. This puts it just below Singapore, which also has steady export growth. On the other hand, Japan has given a surprise this season. Japanese cuisine has learned to appreciate the Dutch onion. The export to this great Asian island has taken a great leap, going from a frugal 400 kilos to more than 2,200 tons.
There is also considerable growth in nearby destinations.
Great Britain has again registered a strong increase and has purchased almost 40% more Dutch onions this campaign; the total now amounts to almost 132,000 tons. This growth is partly due to a more rigorous registration process due to Brexit, which has made Britain a third country. This season, 36,000 more (+40%) are already crossing the English Channel and 45,000 tonnes (+60%) more than last year. The British are fairly self-sufficient in meeting their domestic consumption of onions, which amounts to around 670,000 tonnes, but they are also quite dependent on imports. Every season, it seems, the Holland Onion is managing to grab market share from other suppliers, including Spain, Egypt, New Zealand, and Poland. The same is observed in France, where imported Dutch onions have increased from more than 14,000 tons to more than 18,000 tons. Some French buyers only accept good French onions, even though they are graded in Dutch facilities, although this is not considered for export statistics.
Poland is also registering fairly stable growth figures again. In addition, a considerable amount of Dutch onions is delivered to the field, which is also not reflected in the weekly export figures. And what is certainly striking in the figures is the enormous growth in exports to the country of precision: Switzerland. The volume shipped has gone from 600 tons in the previous season to at least 2,500 tons. Finland is certainly also worth mentioning on this list, with an increase of 3,200 tons, bringing it to over 5,300 tons.
Ukraine has been importing onions from the Netherlands for some time. However, last season the import was halved compared to the previous year. This year, the export to the country, besieged since February 24, has been recovering, and weekly volumes are significantly higher ever since the war with Russia broke out. With a total of 6,800 tons of imported Dutch onions, the country is ranked 36th.
Reopening of Vietnam and Colombia
After a long time, the two countries reopened their borders to the Dutch onion and offered good prospects for the next onion season. If local harvests prove disappointing, Colombia, in particular, could become a major buyer. In the past, the Latin American country sometimes bought more than 10,000 tons, making it a very welcome customer. Thanks to the cooperation between the HOA, the pastoral councils, and the embassies, the authorities of those countries could be convinced, after tough negotiations, to reopen the border to the much appreciated Dutch blond onion.