Ton van Dalen, Oxin Growers:

"One thing's sure: there will be less lit cultivation next season"

The Dutch greenhouse vegetable market situation is very volatile. Local cucumber and eggplant prices might be much higher this year, but bell pepper sales are difficult, and the situation in the tomato market varies considerably per type. Oxin Growers's Commercial Director, Ton van Dalen, takes stock.

"With tomatoes, loose tomatoes and TOV prices were fantastic until week 18. Loose tomatoes were even selling for 40% more than the previous year and vine tomatoes for 30% more. That lead has since leveled off a little, but these main tomato segments are still doing well. The smaller tomato segment is, however, struggling," begins Ton.

"This sector has expanded somewhat, and the price development is lagging." The ToBRFV also continues to plague the tomato sector. "We're working hard with a working group from various sales parties to get the Q-status lifted so we can test the resistant varieties in practice. That's badly needed because the virus has not disappeared. That doesn't only apply to Dutch tomato cultivation either."

Gas price developments, too, are causing emotions to run high in the horticultural world. "We thought that because many growers chose not to use lighting or begin later, tomato supplies would arrive at the same time. But, it wasn't so bad in the end. However, it will be fascinating to see what the new season looks like," Ton continues.

"One thing's certain: next season, there will be even less lit cultivation. The gas price is currently fluctuating between €1.80 and €1.90, and boiler-fired farms will struggle to keep going. Especially those who are at the mercy of the day market. Many growers will have to make that decision in the coming weeks."

This year's bell pepper market is on the wrong side of the line. "It's been a tough season across the board. The season was expected to be reasonable, but prices are below the five-year average. Compared to last year, until week 30, yellow peppers prices are eight percent behind, and green peppers, five percent," says Ton.

"Red peppers prices were nine percent lower, and orange peppers were even 15% lower. Many bell pepper growers are battling to control aphids and root problems. Some are, thus, considering ending the season earlier rather than waiting for the usually more difficult fall."

Cucumbers are this season's success story. "All grades prices are averaging at €0.35. Last year, it was €0.26, and you'd have to go back quite a few years to equal such an average," Van Dalen explains. "There are some shifts from tomato and bell peppers to cucumber cultivation. But, at this time, I can't even guess what that will mean for the acreage. I don't think any lighting will be used for cucumbers."

"As with other crops, how the plants perform and the gas price will determine how long one continues its cultivation. Eggplants are also having a reasonably good year price-wise. Last year was a very mediocre year, but up to now, we are about 20% ahead. There's good production and quality," Ton concludes.

For more information:
Ton van Dalen
Oxin Growers
Tel: +31 (0) 180 203 202

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