According to a report by the ABN AMRO bank, the overall decline has been due to a number of factors including:
- lower production resulting from the poor spring weather;
- a sharp rise in domestic production in several key export markets;
- greater export competition from Spanish growers, who have achieved higher quality and greater logistical efficiency;
- slightly decreasing consumption in established markets.
The UK remains the Netherlands' second largest export market for fresh produce after Germany, which dipped 4 per cent over the period.
Meanwhile exports to Russia remain volatile, falling by 27 per cent to fifth place, due to "regular border closures and diplomatic disputes", the report explained, but added that the country still offers strong potential growth for Dutch exports.
The crop sector to have seen the most significant drop in exports this year has been top fruit, with pears down 44 per cent and apples down 30 per cent.