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With an annual production of 85 million tons in total, onions are one among the most cultivated vegetable crops worldwide.

The onion is a seasoning that is prepared and eaten everywhere in various shapes, flavours, and colours. Dutch companies have a strong track record in breeding, cultivating, and trading onions worldwide.

With a share of 15% of the global onion export market, the Dutch quality onion is truly a market leader. One of the reasons for that success is that Dutch onions are available all year round and is able to supplement more variable local supplies in regions all over the world.

Challenges

Onion cultivation has also been adopted strongly in the organic farming sector. Nevertheless, coming years will present onion cultivation with major challenges.

Due to close crop rotations, many areas used to grow onions have become infected with soil diseases such as fusarium and white rot.

In Dutch coastal provinces, growers are increasingly struggling with climate change effects such as soil salinisation and periodic droughts, which affect onions severely because of their relatively weak root systems. In wet periods, on the other hand, foliar fungal diseases often cause the plants lots of damage, resulting in major yield reductions.

Resistance breeding against fungi and bacteria has so far yielded limited success. The onion genome, which has only recently been mapped, is complex, which complicates the search for solutions to biotic and abiotic stressors. With CropXR, Dutch onion seed companies further extend their track record of answering challenges in collaboration with public knowledge institutions.