Two Dutch marketing cooperatives, Best of Four and Van Nature, are to merge. These associations' members gave this decision the green light at a recent Annual General Meeting. As of 1 January 2020, these organizations will function as one.

From left to right: Jan Oosterom, Ton van Dalen, Aad Sonneveld, and Hans Prins (photo: Leander Photography).

This is a big step for the cooperatives. With this merger, they expect to gain even more advantages for their members, now and in the future. This new organization will have 265 members and 1,029 ha of glasshouse vegetables. In one fell swoop, they have become the largest marketing association for glasshouse vegetables in the Netherlands. The group will also become a significant player in the fruit and full soil vegetable arena. Its members now, collectively, have 2,105 ha under full soil vegetables and 1.682ha of fruit.

Larger volumes
The Boards of Directors all see a large volume as an essential solution to the ever-increasing purchasing power. They experience this with retailers as well as the trade sector. The agreements between the associations are stronger than the competition between them, the Board says.

Together they will strive to remain a cost-effective organization. Its goal is to get the best market price for its members. Due to its size, the new association expects it will become a more serious discussion partner for governments and organizations, including those in the retail sector. It will also be able to market its members' products even better.

In addition, this step helps to guarantee the continuation of the new cooperative for its members. They will have a reliable, relatively inexpensive sales system. The organization will be efficient too. 

Board of Directors
The new cooperative's Board is made up of the two cooperatives former directors. Best of Four's Jan Oosterom will become chairman. He will be supported by four directors from Van Nature and four from Best of Four. The new managers are Ton van Dalen as Commercial Director and Hans Prins as Financial Director. The name of the company has not been announced. This announcement will be made on 1 January 2020.

The association may grow, but, if the Board of Directors gets their way, it will not become less flexible. They want the organization to stay small, flexible, and effective. It must be able to respond to cultivation and market developments. Its focal point is a decisive cooperative with involved members. It must best serve its members' interests. This must be true for both sales to clients and regarding other stakeholders in the sector.

By combining the cooperative, GMP funds will be put to better use. Things will not only be renewed; a further supply concentration can also be achieved.

For more information:
Best of Four 

Van Nature