Fewer growers produce more strawberries

© Hollandse Hoogte / Bert Beelen
The number of strawberry growers was reduced by nearly half between 2006 and 2017. The cultivation area shrank as well during this period and was approximately 5 percent smaller on 1 April 2017. Although the number of strawberry growers and the total cultivation area have decreased, crop yields have risen in recent years. This is mainly due to an expansion of the strawberry cultivation area in greenhouses, according to provisional figures from the Agricultural Census 2017 conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

On 1 April 2017, the total strawberry cultivation area covered 1,630 ha, as against 1,780 ha in the record year of 2012. Strawberry growing in greenhouses and accessible polytunnels has increased from 250 to 400 ha since 2006. Currently, 76 percent of Dutch strawberries are grown outdoors, versus 85 percent in 2006.

Number of strawberry farmers reduced by nearly half

The strawberry cultivation area became smaller, but the number of growers declined much faster. This year, 450 farms are engaged in strawberry cultivation, i.e. 380 fewer than in 2006 (-46 percent). Growing outdoors and in greenhouses decreased at about the same rate.

Higher strawberry production

Despite a smaller strawberry cultivation area, production has risen by 47 percent, from 39.2 million kg in 2006 to 57.5 million kg in 2016. Relative to other countries in the European Union, the Netherlands realises high production on a small cultivation area. In 2015, the Netherlands occupied seventh place in the EU on the list of largest strawberry producers and took up eleventh place on the list of countries with the largest cultivation area.

Strawberries mainly exported to Belgium

In 2015, more than 32 million kg of strawberries grown in the Netherlands were exported, i.e. a 60 percent increase from 2010. The export of strawberries to Belgium has grown notably since 2010, from more than 8.9 million kg to 13.1 million kg. Belgium (40.7 percent), the United Kingdom (15.5 percent) and Germany (14.6 percent) were the largest importers of Dutch strawberries in 2015.