Internationalisation Monitor 2016, second quarter

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) describes recent developments in globalisation in one coherent quarterly publication: the Internationalisation Monitor. By presenting facts and insights, this monitor supports the public debate about internationalisation. In the latest edition, agribusiness takes centre stage. Dutch agriculture and horticulture produce increasing amounts of food and other agricultural output on an ever-decreasing proportion of farmland. In addition, the Netherlands has a large food-processing industry, processing vast amounts of crude agroproducts into liquid and solid finished products, such as baby milk powder and chocolate. Aside from manufacturing agricultural products and foodstuffs, the Netherlands also produces and sells large quantities of agriculture-related products including artificial fertilisers, vaccines and agricultural machines, as well as the resulting know-how and innovations associated with these.

In this edition of the Internationalisation Monitor, CBS aims to present an overall picture of the entire Dutch agribusiness chain, emphasising the importance of foreign countries for this sector. From agriculture, horticulture and fisheries to the food and beverage industry, the agro-industry and agricultural services, on to wholesale and retail trade services in food, beverages and tobacco, finally ending up at the (foreign or Dutch) consumers. Below are some of the findings presented in this edition:

  • In 2015, the total export value of agricultural and agriculture-related products was around 90 billion euros or one-fifth of total Dutch goods exports. 
  • The main agricultural export products (adjusted for re-exports) are flowers and plants, meat, milk and dairy and vegetables. 
  • The main agriculture-related products are fertilisers, agricultural machines and machines for the food-processing industry.
  • Approximately 65 percent of the Dutch surplus in goods trade is on account of the trade in agricultural and related goods. 
  • Compared to other EU countries, the Netherlands is by far the most specialised in exports of flowers and plants. 
  • Agribusiness companies innovate slightly more often (51 percent) than other companies (48 percent). Product innovations in particular are popular among such companies. 
  • More than 5 percent of total R&D expenditure in the Netherlands is on account of agribusiness. 
  • In 2015, over 120 thousand companies were active in agribusiness, representing about 8 percent of all companies in the Netherlands. Nearly half of them have primary agriculture as their main activity.
  • One out of ten employees in the Netherlands are working in agribusiness.
  • One in five agribusiness companies are involved in international trade of goods; this share is higher than in the rest of the business population.
  • Agribusiness exports contributed 4.4 percent to Dutch GDP in 2014, equal to 29 billion euros.
  • Around one-fifth of the turnover, jobs, exports and value added in the entire Dutch manufacturing industry is on account of the food and beverage industry. 
  • Food and beverage companies are more (often) active in innovation and R&D than companies in other industries.
  • Especially productive in the F&B industry are companies exporting goods; these companies produce more turnover, have more employees and spend more on R&D than exporters in other industries, also compared to those not involved in exports. 
  • Companies achieve higher export values and have a higher likelihood of starting exports as they have more employees, a higher degree of foreign ownership and higher R&D expenditure. In the food and beverage sector specifically, export values are higher at companies implementing process innovation.