The Dutch greenhouse season is coming to an end, according Arie Middelburg of GreenMatch, the advice and mediation agency. "Spain is taking over the market on all fronts. This has caused the prices for Dutch greenhouse vegetable to drop across the board. We deal with these seasonal changes every year, but with cucumbers and sweet peppers, it can certainly occur somewhat sooner. The hot summer in Spain has caused the supply to be available a bit later."
Good year for aubergines, cucumbers didn't fair so well
"Let's start with the top product. it was an excellent year for
aubergines. The early part of the year was still disappointing because of the pressure from competition. Later in the year thing turned out well for this relatively small greenhouse crop. This extraordinary year was thanks to the reduction in acreage in Spain and the Netherlands", says Arie. "This is not the case for cucumbers, though. The Dutch season turned out to be disappointing.
After two good years, growers were expecting too much. Last year the hail damage had a big influence on this market. This year, the summer weather was not ideal for consumption, and Spain put pressure on the market for a long time in the early part of the year. This made things difficult in the later part of the year. The price for Dutch cucumbers also collapsed in this past week. It is expected that lit cucumber cultivation will increase considerably. This will be good for the market, as long as Dutch retailers are willing to switch over to the Dutch product, and see its value as compared to the cucumbers from Spain."
Tomatoes: the market eventually recovered
The tomato market was, for a long time, not at its best. "The misery began at the end of May, and the market needed a lot of time to recover. This eventually happened with loose and on-the-vine tomatoes. The acreage used for this product has also shrunk, but with fixed seasonal demands, this has created a balance in the market. There was a large supply of on-the-vine tomatoes this summer, but, again, the weather was not good for consumption. Eventually, the tomato market recovered from August until last week. The balance was, also, not too bad. Certainly not for specialty varieties, which recovered sooner. In the end it was an average year for tomatoes, with the specialty varieties faring better. The Dutch lit cultivation is well underway, especially for the specialties. This will be followed in December by extended cultivation of on-the-vine tomatoes. In tomatoes, there will be a some expansion next year. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since there is a large range of varieties, and lighting. This will result in a corresponding growth over the whole production year."
Sweet peppers: Green and red variety - seasons not disappointing
"I was negative about the sweet pepper market early in the year. This was because of the considerable increase is acreage used for this product as compared to 2016. It was, in the end, certainly for red and green peppers, not completely disappointing, especially in the last few months of the season. There was a reasonable production distribution, without too-high peaks. The season for yellow and orange peppers did not go as well. I attribute this to the lower export volumes to the US and Canada. The foreign exchange rates probably played a negative role in this, since Dutch sweet peppers are somewhat more expensive, per piece, than last year. In addition, competition from Mexico increases every year. The acreage used to grow these products is also increasing in the US and Canada.
Sweet pepper cultivation acreage is also increasing somewhat in the Netherlands, but more so in Spain. This is manly due to pressure caused by diseases in other greenhouse vegetable, and good prices for the Spanish products in the winter months. This could cause more pressure early in the year, but growth in Spain is also hampered by extreme weather", says Arie. The preference for the Dutch product, therefore, remains important. This is only possible with a good, reliable product from the beginning to the end of the season.
He also mentions the increasing competition (in the summer months) from Poland. "This is especially true for tomatoes, but there are also more and more Polish sweet peppers. Before, these went mostly to Russia, but these now almost all end up on the West European market. We are having to contend a lot with this in Germany. But the warm weather in June had consequences for Polish products as well. All in all, it was an average season for Dutch greenhouse vegetables. Aubergines did well; the cucumber market was disappointing; and tomatoes, and sweet peppers ended up on an average level later in the the year, after a market recovery", Arie concludes.