Bank chief warns 800 hectares of Westland glasshouses could fall empty

Westland, one of the world's most intensive areas of glasshouse growing, is likely to go into decline as there is simply not enough room for expansion on the scale the industry demands, according to the Dutch sector's main financier.

Westland - image: HW
Westland - image: HW
Rabobank Westland chairman Fred van Heyningen said last week that growers are now investing in "mega-greenhouses" in the provinces of North Holland and Zeeland instead.

Compounding the problem is the fact that around 300 growers are aged over 55 and approaching retirement, yet without buyers for their glasshouses, these risk falling empty, he added.

The number of glasshouse businesses in the area has already slipped from over 1,500 in 2004 to fewer than 900 last year, while the area given over to horticulture declined by 8 per cent.

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