Bumper strawberry crop in 2014 in the Netherlands
Most strawberries are grown in greenhouses and polytunnels. Nearly 60 percent is intended for export.
Last year, 29 million kg of strawberries were grown in greenhouses and polytunnels, i.e. more than twice as much as in 1998. In greenhouses, circumstances are far better than in open soil. The production per hectare is much higher. Under glass, the hydroponic cultivation method is used, which allows more plants per m2 and the crop frequency is higher.
Open soil cultivation is less efficient and crop yiels are 4.8 times lower than for strawberries grown in greenhouses and polytunnels, because strawberries are very sensitive to meteorological conditions.
Strawberry cultivation in greenhouses and polytunnels has expanded from 170 ha in 1998 to 350 ha in 2014. Open air strawberry cultivation increased from 1,357 ha in 1998 to 1,456 ha in 2014. Greenhouses and everbearing strawberry varieties have resulted in year-round availability. In winter, they are grown in heated greenhouses, in spring and autumn in polytunnels and during the summer in the open air.
Strawberry consumption in the Netherlands is 23 million, partly fresh, partly in pastry, desserts, tinned, etc. The other 30 million kg are exported, predominantly to European countries. Last year, 40 percent went to Belgium, 15 percent to Norway, 15 percent to Germany and 10 percent to the United Kingdom.
The value of exports of strawberries is currently the fourth highest for horticultural products after tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers.
Last year, 79 percent of the total strawberry cultivation area was situated in North Brabant, mainly in the south-western and eastern part of the province. The municipality of Zundert is the centre of strawberry cultivation. In the province of Limburg, 12 percent of the strawberry cultivation area is found. ■