Business was less brisk for abattoirs and the meat processing industry in March 2001 than in February. The measures taken to contain the foot-and-mouth crisis in the Netherlands were the main reason for this. The official transport ban for cows, sheep, pigs and goats meant that hardly any animals could be supplied to abattoirs, and production was very limited.
This had a negative effect for about half the companies in this sector. Capacity utilisation was only 68.4% in the first quarter, 17.3 percent points down on the last quarter of 2000.
Production levels of abattoirs and meat processing (changes on previous month)
The problems in the abattoir and meat processing sectors are having an effect on the food industry as a whole. Although activity in this sector remained stable in March compared with February, it is usually higher in March. Capacity utilisation fell by 2.7 percent points in the first quarter of 2001 to 83.8%.
The knock-on effects of the foot-and-mouth crisis are also being felt by the Dutch food industry in general, and the abattoir and meat industry in particular on overseas markets. The dairy and cattle feed industries have also been affected by the crisis, but to a lesser extent than abattoirs and the meat industry.
Margot de Steur
Source: Statistics Netherlands, Business sentiment survey