Agricultural exports hit record value due to price hikes

© ANP / Robin Utrecht
In 2022, the Netherlands exported 122.3 billion euros worth of agricultural goods. This is over 17 percent more than in 2021. The increase in the value of agricultural exports comes from higher export prices. This is reported by Wageningen Economic Research (WUR) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of joint research commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).

Export prices of most agricultural goods were up relative to 2021. The main factor in this is that farmers, horticulturists and food manufacturers pass on cost increases in their prices as much as possible. Farmers need to pay more for cattle feed raw materials and mineral fertilisers, for instance, while horticulturists face steep energy costs, among other things. Food manufacturers had to deal with rising expenses for both food raw materials and the processing process due to higher energy, packaging and transport costs.
The Dutch economy earned an estimated 49.6 billion euros from agricultural exports in 2022. Of this amount, 44.9 billion came from domestic exports and 4.7 billion from the re-export of agricultural goods produced abroad.

Agricultural exports
JaarDomestic exports (bn euros)Re-exports (bn euros)
Source: CBS, figures over November and December 2022 estimated by CBS and WUR.

Dairy and eggs now the most exported product group

In the ranking of most exported agricultural products, the dairy and eggs product group has risen from third to first place. The export value of this product group increased by 35 percent, from 8.8 billion euros in 2021 to 11.9 billion in 2022. The milk price was historically high in 2022. This was due to surging energy and fodder costs, among other things, sparked by the war in Ukraine. Global milk production also lagged behind demand. The high milk price has affected the price of dairy products with milk as an ingredient.
The price of eggs is also historically high, mainly as a result of sharply rising feed costs. Moreover, the supply has been smaller due to bird flu, again affecting the price.
For years, ornamental horticulture was number one in this ranking, but in 2022, demand for flowers stagnated. The export value fell from 11.9 billion euros in 2021 to 11.5 billion in 2022. Just as dairy and eggs, meat became significantly more expensive. The export value of meat increased from 9.4 billion euros in 2021 to 11.0 billion in 2022. Among the other widely exported products, export value also increased due to higher prices; only fruit exports declined in 2022 relative to the previous year.

Top ten most exported agricultural goods in 2022
Productgroep2022 (bn euros)2021 (bn euros)
Dairy and eggs11.98.8
Natural fats and oils8.16.1
Preparations of cereals,
flour, milk
Residues from food industry,
animal fodder
Processed and preserved
fruit and vegetables
Source: CBS, figures over November and December 2022 estimated by CBS and WUR.

Nearly a quarter of agricultural exports go to Germany

In 2022, exports to all major agricultural destinations grew substantially in value. Germany remains by far the most important destination, accounting for 24 percent of Dutch agricultural exports in 2022. The share did show a small decrease (in 2021 it was 25 percent), due to lower than average growth in agricultural exports to Germany: 13 percent. Exports to Spain (up 25 percent) and to the United States (up 24 percent) increased sharply in value. As a result, Spain is now the sixth largest agricultural export destination in place of China. Sweden is the new number ten, replacing Denmark, which was number ten in 2021.

Top ten agricultural export destinations in 2022
Bestemming2022 (bn euros)2021 (bn euros)
United Kingdom9.58.4
United States3.73.0
Source: CBS, figures over November and December 2022 estimated by CBS and WUR.