South African onion exports are beginning to make an impact in western Europe, according to leading supplier Dutoit Vegetables, based in Ceres in the country’s Cape region.
South Africa is expected to ship 14,000 tonnes of onions to Europe this year. Of this total, more than 85 per cent will originate from the Dutoit Group, which is aiming to increase its exports in 2009.
“There is a rising demand for our onions,” said Pieter du Toit, Dutoit Group managing director for marketing in a recent interview with Eurofruit Magazine.
“Over the past few years we have really been able to build confidence in South African products because we have been able to deliver consistent quality throughout our season," he added. “This has helped us extend the season from what was basically a short two month window to nearly five months.”
Mr Dutoit says the group will now supply onions to European and UK customers from mid-January until the end of May.
Harvesting commenced in December in the early regions of the Sandveld along the west coast of the Cape Province, followed by the colder Koue Bokkeveld regions near Ceres.
“Shipments will start in mid-January,” confirmed Matilda Hendrikz, the group’s marketing manager. “Although we planted part of our crop later than normal because of wet conditions in September, this will only delay harvesting by approximately one week.”