The new harvest of Italian onions is due in the coming weeks. Due to weather problems and the coronavirus it promises to be an interesting season. "Workers, mainly from Poland and Romania, do not want to go to Italy. Less so even than to Germany. They are very scared because of the virus," said a German trader.
Thousands of hectares of onions remain unharvested in Cordoba, waiting to find a destination in the market. On the one hand, the closure of the hospitality industry has entailed the loss of an important sales channel, and on the other hand, large chains often flood the market with frozen imported onions, which push the local production away, as reported by Miguel Cobos, general secretary of the Union of Small Agricultural Producers (UPA) of Cordoba.
The demand for yellow, organic onions has been very quiet so far. But there is increasing demand from the Netherlands' neighboring countries. That is according to Jan Franje of Franje Onions. "In markets like Germany, Austria, and France, local organic onions are running out. They then buy from the Netherlands. This week we also started with the first organic red onions from Egypt."
Vidalia onions look to be somewhat lower in volume this season. “There were some rains and later in the deal there were heavy, heavy rains. This affected the onions a bit, and then a few weeks ago we had a tornado come through with some hail,” says Bob Stafford of the Vidalia Onion Committee in Vidalia, Ga.
Growers of Vidalia onions battled too much rain this winter, causing some losses of the signature Georgia crop. Now, as the official first day of shipping arrives Thursday, farmers are keeping an eye on the coronavirus. Many are worried about how the pandemic, which over the course of five weeks has disrupted almost every phase of ordinary life, will affect the 2020 season.
Over the next four years, researchers will be looking for answers for some of the most problematic bacterial diseases in onions. The USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative is providing $4 million for the Stop the Rot project, with an additional $4.2 million from onion growers, universities and seed companies.
The onion market in Europe has gone through some difficult years. The record heat and drought in the summer of 2018 resulted in an enormous shortage at the beginning of last year. While the situation in large parts of the continent stabilised again this year, nature again put onion and vegetable cultivation in Ukraine to a hard test last year.
Widespread rot and botrytis diseases have led to farmers having to destroy crop at a time when onion prices are high. At a time when the price of shallots is still rocketing over ₹130 a kg in various parts of the State, farmers in Perambalur district have been destroying their standing onion crops due to widespread rot and botrytis diseases.
That the dry weather would lead to a lower harvest in the Netherlands is no surprise. The harvest estimates of the CBS (Statistics Netherlands), however, exceed previous estimates. The harvest of consumption potatoes is 24 per cent lower than in 2017, onions are expected to yield 44 per cent less, according to the figures. The sector expected a 30 to 40 per cent lower onion harvest.
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