Flower exports down by over one-quarter in March

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
In March 2020, the export value of horticultural products such as flowers, plants, bulbs and nursery products declined by 22 percent year-on-year. The export of cut flowers dropped by 26 percent. The largest decline was seen in horticultural exports to Italy. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of provisional figures.

In January 2020, the value of horticultural exports was still 10 percent up relative to the same month last year. At 3 percent, the year-on-year increase was already markedly lower in February.

The greater part of the decline in March was on account of cut flowers (-26 percent). Exports of plants and nursery products contracted by 18 percent while flower bulbs and other ornamental products dropped by 25 percent.

In 2019, horticultural exports reached a value of 9.5 billion euros, making horticulture the single largest industry in Dutch agricultural exports.

The developments presented here on the month of March are based on data which CBS received from Customs Administration and from horticultural traders. No estimates have been included to adjust for export data that have not been received.

Export value of horticultural products, 2020
ProductOrnamental horticulture (total) (year-on-year % change)Cut flowers (year-on-year % change)Flower bulbs and other (year-on-year % change)Plants and nursery products (year-on-year % change)

61 percent contraction for fifth largest export destination Italy

The top ten destinations of Dutch horticultural exports in 2019 combined accounted for a substantial year-on-year decline in export value over March 2020. Among these ten countries, the smallest decline was in exports to the United Kingdom (-13 percent), while the largest by far was recorded in exports to Italy (-61 percent). Exports to the United States and Switzerland plummeted as well, both by 33 percent.

Export value of horticultural products in March 2020, top 10 destinations (2019)
LandHorticultural exports (year-on-year % change)
United States-33
United Kingdom-13

Germany by far the largest market in 2019

In 2019, Germany was by far the largest foreign market for horticultural products (2.6 billion euros), followed by the United Kingdom (1.1 billion), France (1.0 billion), Belgium (0.5 billion) and Italy (0.4 billion). The top ten is completed by Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States.

Horticultural exports to Germany comprise 43 percent cut flowers, 48 percent live plants or trees and 10 percent flower bulbs and other products. Exports to Italy include 52 percent plants or trees, 31 percent cut flowers and 17 percent flower bulbs and other products. As for horticultural exports to the United States, a striking 51 percent are flower bulbs and other ornamental products.

Top ten foreign markets for ornamental horticulture, 2019
LandCut flowers (million euros)Plants and nursery products (million euros)Flower bulbs and other (million euros)
United Kingdom523462130
United States9624124