According to Fermin Utrilla from Biodiversa, an “artificial downward pressure” is affecting prices on European onions despite strong market conditions.
Fermin said, “Drought played a key role in the development of the onion season. “Last year, production in Europe suffered enormously. There were issues in the Netherlands, Europe’s leading onion producer, Germany, France, and Spain.”
Fermin continued, “As a result, prices in autumn and winter reached never before seen heights; especially in the Netherlands, where there were no cheap onions throughout the entire campaign. In fact, right now they are offering the last onions for more than a euro because there are no onions left.
“To give you an idea, the last price we received for conventional 70-80 caliber onions in big bags is €1.22/kg. Since prices have reached very high levels this year many, Dutch organic products have been transferred to conventional products. Consumption in Europe is in recession, and organic sales have slowed down after having been growing at double digits.”
Fermin stated. “The supply of onions in Europe will be very limited until July 15,” adding that at this time Biodiversa “is harvesting onions in the earliest areas, the most important of which is Andalusia.”
The planting area has been reduced by 50 percent, and the yields obtained are generally very low, and Fermin said. “Producing with so little water has been really challenging.”
In this situation, prices started strong. “The first Spring onions were paid at €0.70/kg to the farmer, but traders have been exerting an unjustified downward pressure with the supply-demand relationship at the moment. I have the impression that supermarkets are playing the heroes by lowering consumer prices to the detriment of the primary sector.”
“I see no reason why prices have to go down as there are no onions in Europe,” Fermin added. “Even the Egyptian product, which is of a lower quality, is very expensive. The strong pressure exerted on the Spanish onion is incomprehensible because it does not correspond to the situation of the European market.”
In addition, the imbalance is growing day by day because, in addition to the drop in production due to the reduction in plantings, the rains in May “practically destroyed the cultivation of onions in Murcia, making the supply even scarcer. And yet I am not seeing any repercussions on Spanish onion prices, but a reluctance on the part of operators to raise prices in line with the market situation and artificial downward pressure.”
Fermin concluded, “From mid-July/early August, when the first European areas start to enter the market, the supply of onions will increase, but until July 15 the volumes available will be very low.”
Biodiversa is a company that specializes in the production of organic onions, potatoes, and beets, and its website notes, “Biodiversa+ is the European Biodiversity Partnership supporting excellent research on biodiversity with an impact for society and policy. It was jointly developed by Biodiversa and the European Commission as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, and will contribute to the ambition that by 2030, nature in Europe is back on a path of recovery, and that by 2050 people are living in harmony with Nature.”
For more information on the company, visit https://www.biodiversa.eu/