Fewer but bigger growers dominate Dutch production

The Dutch glasshouse production industry continues to concentrate into fewer hands, conference delegates were told.

Pieter Niekus, international business manager for the Dutch agricultural bank Rabobank, told the Tomato Conference that while the production area of edible crops was predicted to remain at 4,500ha, the bank expected to have 30 per cent fewer businesses on its books in 2010 than it had in 2005.

"Smaller companies have problems finding a profit on energy and in being able to innovate," he said.

Faced with increasing energy prices, he said Dutch growers were short of liquidity with which the bank was not always able to help. With the exception of 2003, growers of protected edible crops had lost money every year for the past seven years. He said the rate at which growers were leaving the industry - an average six per cent each year - had accelerated this year.

Niekus predicted interest rates would go up, making the situation harder because Dutch growers were used to working with loans. But he added that Dutch growers were active in looking for solutions, whereas in Spain "growers were waiting for something good to happen".

Meanwhile, Thanet Earth, the new £80m 91ha glasshouse complex on the Isle of Thanet, Kent, which is owned and operated by a consortium of Dutch growers, is the first project in the UK to be backed by Rabobank.

Niekus said that while no English bank would have been willing to finance the project, Rabobank specialised in "the food and agri markets" and knew the sector well. He said the bank had established a department to service projects abroad where there is a Dutch connection. "I think (Thanet Earth) is also an example for English growers and banks that there is a future in larger companies working together."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, in contrast to other farming sectors, according to a new report by levy body AHDB with Agra CEAS Consulting.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

One area affected by the uncertainty around Brexit will be the ongoing development of agricultural technology, seen by many as essential to retain Britain's productivity and competitiveness in fresh produce along with other farming sectors.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon