Dutch agricultural exports worth nearly 124 billion euros in 2023

© CBS/Alrik Swagerman
The Netherlands exported agricultural goods with a total value of 123.8 billion euros in 2023. That was an increase of 1.6 percent relative to 2022. The value of agricultural exports rose by 18.2 percent in 2022 because prices rose by much more in that year than they did in 2023. 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).

In 2022, almost all agricultural goods increased in price as producers passed on the increasing cost of raw materials, animal feed, fertilizers, natural gas, packaging and transportation. In 2023, by contrast, prices increased less and less as the year went on, and in some cases prices actually fell compared to 2022. Even so, for the full year in 2023, agricultural export prices were slightly higher than in 2022. On balance, the increase in prices in 2023 was greater than the simultaneous fall in export volume, resulting in a slight increase in the value of agricultural exports of 1.6 percent.

The Dutch economy is estimated to have earned 50.4 billion euros from the export of agricultural goods in 2023 (4 percent higher than in 2022). Of that total, 45.7 billion euros was from agricultural goods produced in the Netherlands and 4.7 billion euros came from the re-export of agricultural goods produced elsewhere.

Value of Dutch agricultural exports
JaarExports produced in the Netherlands (bn euro)Re-exports (bn euro)
Source: CBS, figures for December 2023 have been estimated by CBS and WUR

Export value of fruit and vegetables rises sharply

Among the Netherlands' leading agricultural exports, the top three remained unchanged from 2022: dairy and egg exports were in first place, followed by horticultural exports in second place and meat exports in third place. There was virtually no change in the export value of dairy and eggs (12.0 billion euros) or horticulture exports (11.5 billion euros) between 2022 and 2023. The value of meat exports rose by 2 percent from 11.0 billion to 11.2 billion euros. Further down the list, exports of vegetables (up by 12 percent), fruit (up by 11 percent) and processed and preserved fruits and vegetables (up by 14 percent) all rose significantly in value.

Potatoes are included under vegetables here: they increased in price in 2023, and also saw an increase in export volume. Other vegetables saw a rise in price only. Weather conditions, higher storage costs and competition for land use, among other factors, led to the rise in potato prices.

The increase in the value of fruit exports was due to an increase in prices; the actual volume of fruit exported remained about the same. In the case of fair trade bananas, for example, a higher minimum price was agreed on 1 January 2023, due to higher production costs. The higher import price for bananas was reflected in a higher export price.

Top ten agricultural export groups in 2023
Productgroep2023 (bn euro)2022 (bn euro)
Dairy and eggs12.012.1
Processed and preserved fruits and vegetables7.16.3
Natural fats and oils6.88.0
Preparations of cereals, flour, milk6.76.7
Residues from food industry, animal fodder6.36.6
Source: CBS, figures for December 2023 have been estimated by CBS and WUR

Value of agricultural exports to Spain up by 12 percent

Germany has traditionally been the main buyer of agricultural goods from the Netherlands and in 2023 too, Germany was the destination for almost a quarter of all Dutch agricultural exports (representing a value of 29.6 billion euros). Within the total flow of exports, however, the growth in exports to Germany in 2023 was lower (+1 percent) than the growth in exports to Belgium (+5 percent) and France (+6 percent). Exports to the United Kingdom increased by 0.5 percent in 2023.

Exports to Spain saw the highest growth of the top ten destinations, in percentage terms, with agricultural exports to Spain rising by 12 percent in 2023. The export value of live animals, fruit and vegetables (among others) to Spain was significantly higher in 2023 than in 2022. Spain now ranks sixth on the list of destinations for Dutch agricultural exports. Agricultural exports to China, by contrast, actually declined by 20 percent in 2023. This was mainly due to reduced demand for baby milk powder and pork from the Netherlands, partly because of increased production in China itself.

Top ten destinations for agricultural exports in 2023
Land2023 (bn euro)2022 (bn euro)
United Kingdom9.49.3
United States3.43.7
Source: CBS, figures for December 2023 have been estimated by CBS and WUR