Pumpkin production: fewer patches, more exports

© Hollandse Hoogte / plainpicture
In 2018, one-quarter of the altogether 754 hectares of Dutch agricultural land with pumpkin patches are located in the province of Flevoland. The total pumpkin cultivation area in Flevoland has decreased by 27 percent relative to 2017. Virtually all provinces have seen a decline in pumpkin cultivation area. Pumpkin trade did see a slight rise in the first five months of 2018 compared to the same period last year. This is evident from figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) around Halloween.

Pumpkin cultivation area by province (hectares)
 2018*2017
Flevoland194266
Gelderland103100
Zeeland8584
Noord-Brabant8596
Limburg7777
Zuid-Holland5166
Noord-Holland4144
Drenthe3356
Groningen2959
Overijssel2522
Friesland2443
Utrecht811

This year, the Netherlands has 350 farms with pumpkin patches. This was still 366 in 2017. Flevoland province has 42 pumpkin-growing farms, against 53 in 2017. Less land is being dedicated to pumpkin production in most Dutch provinces. The strongest decline is seen in Groningen, where half of the cultivation area disappeared.

More trade

In the first five months of 2018, the Netherlands exported 21 million kg of pumpkins, up from 18.7 million kg in the same period one year previously. Total pumpkin exports in 2017 amounted to 38.2 million kg. From January up to May 2018 inclusive, the Netherlands imported 37.7 million kg of pumpkins, against 37 million kg one year previously. Total pumpkin imports in 2017 amounted to 67.7 million kg.

Pumpkin imports and exports (x million kg)
 ImportsExports
2017* January5.23.2
2017* February6.23.1
2017* March9.53.6
2017* April8.33.8
2017* May7.85
2017* June4.53.5
2017* July1.32.7
2017* August1.62.3
2017* September2.92.8
2017* October5.53.6
2017* November5.72.6
2017* December5.32.6
2018* January5.73.5
2018* February7.13.9
2018* March8.64.4
2018* April9.44.7
2018* May6.94.6


Pumpkin trade shows alternating up and down trends. Between June and September, fewer pumpkins crossed the border, whereas imports almost doubled in October - the month of Halloween - relative to the previous month.

Smallest area per grower in Utrecht and Noord-Brabant

The total pumpkin cultivation area varies widely between the provinces. An average pumpkin grower in Flevoland grows pumpkins on a patch of over 4.6 ha. The smallest patches are found in Utrecht and Noord-Brabant, with an average of 1.1 and 1.2 ha, respectively. The national average is 2.2 ha.

Average pumpkin cultivation area per farm, 2018 (hectares)
 Pumpkin cultivation area per farm
Flevoland4.6
Gelderland2.8
Drenthe2.5
Zeeland2.3
Friesland2
Noord-Holland1.9
Groningen1.7
Overijssel1.7
Zuid-Holland1.7
Limburg1.6
Noord-Brabant1.2
Utrecht1.1

Most pumpkins cultivated organically

In 2018, 60 percent of the total area for pumpkin cultivation is organic agriculture. This is equivalent to 468 ha of pumpkins. There are 119 farms with organic pumpkin production this year, i.e. 34 percent in the total number of farms. On average, farms growing pumpkins organically have a larger cultivation area (3.9 ha) than conventional growers (1.2 ha). 

The Netherlands mid-tier in EU

In 2017, the Netherlands ranked eighth in the EU in terms of pumpkin cultivation. Germany has the largest pumpkin acreage with 4,500 ha, followed by France and Spain.

Largest pumpkin acreage, EU top 10 in 2017 (x 1,000 ha)
 Pompoenareaal
Germany4.5
France4.3
Spain3.7
Portugal3
Bulgaria1.9
Poland1.7
Romania1.2
Netherlands0.9
Hungary0.8
Slovakia0.7