In 2020, the value of agricultural exports from the Netherlands increased by about one percent compared to 2019. That was despite the global coronavirus pandemic. Total goods exports declined by about seven percent last year. This is reported by the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and Wageningen Economic Research (WUR). The report is based on a joint study commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).
This slight increase is somewhat nuanced. Agricultural exports volumes decreased slightly. But export prices rose. That accounted for the growth in export value. Moreover, the value of Dutch agricultural exports decreased by 0.6 percent. Total agricultural export values nevertheless grew. This is because agricultural goods re-exports increased by 5.1 percent. A third nuance is that this estimate is more uncertain than in previous years. Again, because of COVID-19.
Total 2020 agricultural exports are estimated to reach €95,6 billion – a new record. Of this, €68,3 billion will be Dutch-made exports, and €27,3 billion are re-exports. Exports should generate €41,9 billion in export services for the Dutch economy. The country’s export values amounted to €105,4 billion and €46,1 billion in export services. That includes agriculture-related goods.
Fruit exports up by 11%
Just as in 2019, flowers, plants, flower bulbs, and tree nursery products were, in euro terms, the most traded exports. In 2020, ornamental plant products to the tune of €9,5 billion were exported. That’s 0,3 percent more than in 2019. Decorative horticulture products provided the most export earnings of all agricultural product groups too. These exports struggled in the first months of the corona crisis. They, however, recovered in the months that followed.
In terms of value, meat products were the second-most exported product. But it shrank by three percent, from €9 billion in 2019 to €8,7 billion in 2020. Dairy and eggs and vegetables also showed a decline in exports, by three and four percent respectively. Fruit exports, on the other hand, grew by 11%. However, this was mainly due to more re-exports.
The most exported agricultural goods in the Netherlands. From top to bottom: ornamental horticultural products, meat, eggs and dairy, vegetables, fruit, beverages, products made from grains, flour and milk, animal feed and the rest of the food industry, fruit and vegetable products, and natural fats and oils.
Agricultural exports to Germany increase by four percent
In 2020, 26% of Dutch agricultural exports (€24,6 billion) went to Germany. That’s four percent more than in 2019 (€23,6 billion, 25%). Belgium, the United Kingdom, and France are other important destinations. Exports to these markets shrank by two percent (Belgium, France) to three percent (United Kingdom). The Netherlands sold 67% of its goods on the EU market (excluding the UK).
China climbed from sixth to fifth place in the ranks of the most important agricultural exports destinations. They have a four percent share. Agricultural exports increased from €3,1 billion (2019) to €3,8 billion (2020), or 24%. For the most part, this is increased pork and baby milk powder exports.
The Netherlands’ top ten agricultural export destinations. From top to bottom: Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, China, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United States, and Sweden.
Agriculture-related exports slightly down
It’s estimated that last year, the value of exported agriculture-related goods decreased by 0,6%. These goods are produced for the agricultural and food sectors. Farm machinery and machinery for the food industry are the most important Dutch agriculture-related goods exports. However, exports of these are four to five percent lower than in 2019. Exports of greenhouse materials grew by 19%. That’s primarily due to an increase in exports of these materials to the United Kingdom. Fertilizer exports decreased by nine percent.
Agriculture-related goods exports. From top to bottom: agricultural machines, food industry machines, greenhouse materials, fertilizers, animal vaccines, pesticides, tractors and agricultural trailers, irrigation systems, and remaining.