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Horticulture causes import hike of living insects

The Netherlands largest insect importer of EU

Out of all the EU countries, the Netherlands spends the most on the import of live insects. In the first half of 2017, the import value is almost five times as high as five years earlier. Bees are relatively imported less and less, other insects continue to increase. The most important country of origin is Israel. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands on the basis of new analyzes of trade figures.

Insects are used in pollination of agricultural crops (such as bees) and in natural crop protection (such as parasitic wasps). They are also increasingly used for human and animal consumption, such as mealworms and grasshoppers. The Netherlands is known worldwide as an innovator in the use of insects.

Mainly for domestic use
In the first half of 2017, the Netherlands imported 8.2 million euro worth of live insects (390 thousand kilograms). This makes the Netherlands the largest insect importer of the European Union followed by Belgium and France. These three countries together account for almost 60 percent of total EU imports. Approximately one third of the imported insects is also exported again. The majority of the insects coming from abroad are therefore for use in the Netherlands. Insects are also reared in the Netherlands.

In the first six months of 2012, the trade in bees accounted for 60 percent of total imports of insects (import value slightly over 1 million euros). In 2013, it was even more than 6 million euros. In the first half of 2017, the import value fell to 2.5 million euros, 30 percent of the import value of all insects. Seventy percent of imported live insects consists of other insects. Its import value (5.7 million euros) is eight times as high as five years ago.

Third insect exporter
As exporter of live insects, the Netherlands comes in third place with an export value of 5.6 million euros. Belgium is the largest exporter with 15 million euros, followed by Slovakia with 6.2 million euros (almost exclusively bees).

Predatory insects from Israel
Many insects come from Israel. In the whole year 2016 this import was equivalent to an amount of 5.6 million euros, 40 percent of the total import value. In particular, it concerns predatory insects for natural crop protection. From Slovakia, our country imported for 2,6 million euros of insects, almost exclusively bees. The United Kingdom supplies insects for almost 2 million euros. The most important destination is Mexico. In 2016, the Netherlands shipped about 2.6 million euros worth of insects to Mexico, accounting for more than 30 percent of total exports.

Source: CBS
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