COVID 19 – Agricultural sectors facing a rough ride ahead
According to a recent USDA report, due to the Coronavirus pandemic the Dutch agricultural sectors are anticipating a tough time ahead. The Netherlands is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, exporting €65 billion of vegetables, fruit, flowers, meat, and dairy products each year.
For example, the Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Association, calculated a loss of income of almost €5 billion ($5.4 billion) in the next six months for the primary agricultural sector. ABN Amro bank, the nation’s third largest bank, estimates that Dutch agricultural production and sales will contract 2 percent this year.
One of the hardest hit agricultural sectors, and an icon of the Dutch agricultural industry, is the Dutch floriculture industry. The Netherlands accounts for 44 percent of worldwide trade in floricultural products and 77 percent of all flower bulbs traded worldwide come from the Netherlands, the majority of which are tulips. With the virus hitting during peak tulip production season, Royal Flora Holland, the largest cooperation of flower and plant producers in the Netherlands, estimated the industry destroyed roughly 400 million flowers (140 million tulips) in recent weeks and that industry damages could be in excess of €2 billion. In response, the government has announced a €600 million program for floriculture and some specialty horticultural producers.