19April2014

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Dutch Export Agricultural Sector Growing, But Income Decreases Considerably

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The export value of agricultural and horticultural products increased by 9% in 2011. The income in the agricultural sector decreased considerably. The number of agricultural companies decreased to slightly in excess of 70,000. The environment tax of the agricultural sector shows a different picture and a larger part of the income is spent on food. This and more becomes clear from the Landbouw Economisch Bericht 2012 ( Agricultural economic report 2012) from LEI Wageningen UR. This annual edition offers an explanation of the developments in the Dutch agricultural sector shown against the economic and political developments.

The effects of the recession on the entire agricultural sector is smaller than for the average Dutch sector. The surplus value of the entire sector increased during the last few years. Whilst that of the total Dutch economy decreased by 1%. In the course of the years especially the logistic link of the sector increased in importance; more and more products come from outside the Netherlands. The number of jobs in logistics even increased, whilst in most parts of the sector there was a decrease.

Export grows again

The export measured in value grew considerably in 2011. Also the export of somewhat more economically sensitive products, such as flowers and dairy products remained up to the mark. In 2009 just as a result of the credit crisis the export of dairy products decreased considerably. The EU and also our southern and eastern neighbours, is still the most important export market for the Dutch agrarian products. Not only the export to the EU, but also that to countries outside the EU increased. The cheap Euro assisted in this. For the sectors, which imported much from outside the EU the cheap Euro meant an increase in the expense, such as for fodder

Incomes decreased considerably

The for 2011 estimated income is rather a lot lower than in 2010. Especially the strongly increased expenses put pressure on the incomes. According to estimates 20% of companies arrive at an income of nil or less. These are mainly companies in glasshouse horticulture and the egg laying poultry companies. At the other side of the spectre there are companies, also about 20% of the total, which earn more then Euro 100,000. These are mainly the larger companies, which - viewed over a longer period - are able to realise a higher income than the smaller companies.

Expenses for food increase

The last few years the Dutch spend a slightly larger part of their income on food. This is mainly because of the increased prices. It is striking, however, that there is still a strong increase in the sale of organic products.

Number of companies just above 70,000

The number of companies in the primary agriculture and horticulture decreased by about 2,7%. The decrease is in accordance with the long term trend. There are large differences between sectors. In the not-soil bound sectors the number of companies decreased twice as fast as the average. In the soil-bound sectors the percentage is below the average. In 2011 there are 70,392 companies against more than 97,000 in 2000.

The increase in scale and specialisation are still continuing within the primary agriculture. In the dairy cattle industry more than 20% of the companies have in excess of 100 cows. More than half of the national meat chicken stock was held by companies in 2010 looking after more than 100,000 meat chicks. In agriculture the increase of scale is a little slower than in cattle breeding sectors. Less than 5% of the companies had more than 100 HA of land.

Source: Fresh Plaza - Dutch Export Agricultural Sector Growing, but Income Decreases Considerably