After years of poor economic conditions, greenhouse crops are finally doing well again. Prices are rising, nurseries are being sold or rented out and new companies are even being built. Cucumber growers in particular have done very well this year.
Jos van der Knaap, LTO Glaskracht Westland: "This is the first year in a few years that many Westland greenhouse business owners have been able to say that it was a good year. In general, it has been a good year for vegetable crops."
"The year began okay, but improved as the months went by. Cucumber growers in particular have done very well this year, but tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplants also did well this year. Tomato growers had three very good months. In fact, those three months were so good that they can say they had a good year." The last time growers could say that was a while ago. According to Van der Knaap, that is partially due to poor harvest in Spain and Poland. It was so hot there that eventually the crops couldn't take it anymore. Which of course leads to lower production," says Van der Knaap.
There were very little bright spots in the sector in previous years, but this year has been a great boost for greenhouses, "There is not even one greenhouse business for sale or for rent in Westland anymore," says Van der Knaap.
Arne van Aalst, CEO of the tomato growers association Prominent, talks about a year with two faces, "Up until mid-August it was not the best year for tomato growers. After mid-August things went really well until two weeks ago. That mostly has to do with dry spells and warm weather in countries like Spain and Morocco. Export from these countries started later. For Dutch growers this had two advantages. They could export to these countries, because they were going to be on the market later, and now tomatoes are flowing in from these two countries."
Many tomato growers are now changing their crops. Greenhouse tomato acreage is increasing each year by a few percent, "Customers want access to good quality tomatoes throughout the entire year. Growers want to hold on to regular customers as much as possible, and do not want them to be tempted to turn to growers in Spain or Morocco. Supermarkets want certainty when it comes to delivery, and we must take care of that."