Fewer bulb growers cultivating more land

21/04/2017 15:00
© Hollandse Hoogte
The number of farms specialised in flower bulb cultivation has decreased by 40 percent since 2000. The decline is seen in all bulb varieties, narcissi and gladioli in particular. The total agricultural area used for commercial flower bulb cultivation went up by 16 percent. In 2016, the average bulb grower used nearly twice as much land for bulb cultivation as in 2000. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on final agricultural statistics.
There is a decreasing number of flower bulb growers in the Netherlands. Since the turn of the century, the number of flower bulb farms has fallen by 40 percent to just over 1,600, a decrease of more than 1,100 farms. On the other hand, the average cultivation area per grower has doubled from around 8 ha to 16 ha.

Narcissi and gladioli less popular among growers

Not only have commercial bulb farms decreased in number while growing in size, they have also increasingly moved away from certain bulb varieties; the share of narcissi and gladioli growers in particular has declined – by 64 and 53 percent respectively since 2000. At the same time, the cultivation area for these varieties has decreased. Furthermore, the share held by tulip bulb farms has declined by 47 percent whereas the cultivation area has grown. In other words, fewer and fewer growers are responsible for an increasingly large area used for this type of bulb.

Tulip main reason for increased flower bulb area

Despite the decline in the number of flower bulb growers, the total area of farmland destined for bulb cultivation has increased. Since 2000, the flower bulb area has increased by 16 percent to more than 26 thousand ha. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, the area increase amounted to 5 percent.

This increase is particularly apparent in the cultivation of tulips: 36 percent since 2000. Last year, more than half of all flower fields were used for tulip cultivation. The areas with lilies and hyacinths grew less rapidly, by 30 and 20 percent respectively. Gladioli are becoming less and less popular among bulb growers. The cultivation area of gladioli has shown a steady decline for years and has decreased by 43 percent since 2000.