Agricultural export growth almost stagnant

Dutch vegetable exports stable, imports down

In 2018, € 90.3 billion of agricultural goods were exported from the Netherlands. This is a slight increase of 0.2% compared to 2017, when it was € 90.1 billion. However, the growth contrasts sharply with the growth in 2016 and 2017 of 4% and 6%, respectively. Import growth is also stagnating, with only 0.5% growth for 2018. This is shown in research by Wageningen Economic Research (WUR) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS), which was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).

Despite the slowdown in growth, the Netherlands remains the second largest agricultural exporter in the world after the United States. 65.4 billion was produced by Dutch growers.

Export growth is stagnating

It is estimated that 61.4 billion was imported in 2018, an increase of 0.5% in 2017. Here, too, the growth is considerably lower, because in 2017 an 8% growth was recorded compared to 2016. The trade surplus of 28.8 billion euros is due to the higher growth in imports compared to exports, and is a decrease of 0.4% compared to 2017.

Import growth

Export vegetables stable, import shrinks
Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are the main exported vegetables. The value of greenhouse and field vegetables amounted to 6.6 billion euros, comparable to 2017. The export of tomatoes decreased but the cucumber export actually increased sharply.

Neighboring countries
Most Dutch agricultural products are exported to Germany (€ 22.8 billion) and Belgium (€ 10.2 billion). Together these two neighboring countries comprise 36% of total Dutch agricultural exports. In the top 10 of export destination there were no changes compared to 2017 and also the order of the countries didn't change.

The biggest absolute increases in Dutch agricultural exports in 2018 were to Japan (+ € 110 million), Morocco (+ € 93 million), Poland (+ € 86 million), Russia (+ € 77 million) and China (+ 66 million).

The largest absolute decreases were to Germany (-310 billion euros), France (-97 billion euros) and the United Kingdom (-72 billion euros).

Export growth to Japan was mainly thanks to pork and beverages. For Poland the growth of fruit exports is increasing, while more cut flowers are being exported to Russia.

With agricultural imports a similar image without major changes.

Minister Carol Schouten praised the Dutch agricultural and horticultural sector on the basis of the new figures as an “important player when it comes to producing food for a growing world population.” LTO's Marc Calon had the following reaction: "With our exports we make an important contribution to the Dutch economy. It's a breeding ground for innovation. Dutch farmers and market growers, but also the rest of the chain, search every day for solutions concerning the climate, biodiversity and closing cycles. We are leading the way exactly because we have such a strong position in the world market."

View the entire report here.

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