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Potato in danger of disappearing from the Netherlands

Staff Writer |
The Dutch potato cultivation has a strong position in northwestern Europe because of its good entrepreneurs and strong chain.

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These Dutch entrepreneurs are also in a leading position in the field of sustainability. At the same time, returns of potato cultivators are increasingly under pressure.

There are plenty of opportunities for improving returns, and to continue investing in sustainability and innovation. A prerequisite is, however, an equal playing field in Europe.

If this continues to fail to appear, there is every chance that other cultivation areas in Europe will take over production. That is the conclusion of the ABN AMRO in the report "Captivated by potatoes.".

The Dutch agricultural sector belongs to the most innovative and knowledge-intensive in the world. In part thanks to this, the Netherlands was able to develop internationally to become the second exporter of agricultural products, after the U.S.

In 2015, 6,742 arable farms cultivated consumption potatoes and 2,419 companies cultivated seed-potatoes in the Netherlands. Since 2000, the area of consumption potatoes decreased by 17.9 percent; the seed-potato area remained the same. North Brabant has the largest area of consumption potatoes with 16,582 hectares.

Flevoland took over the position of largest area seed-potatoes from Groningen. Zeeland has experienced a spectacular growth in this field since 2000 (+56.6 percent). This was partially at the expense of the cultivation of consumption potatoes.

In the Netherlands, approximately 375,000 tonnes of table potatoes are sold annually. Almost 400,000 tonnes is exported, half of which to countries outside of the EU.

The most important export countries are Belgium, Germany and France. In recent years, the chip industry quickly gained ground compared to table potatoes.

This sector invested significantly in expansion of the processing capacity in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Potato cultivators are willing to sell part of their production to chip processors early and for too low a price.

They are trying to increase returns with their other products. ABN AMRO thinks prices for chip potatoes will temporarily increase due to the extreme weather circumstances during the autumn of 2016.

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