Veraart Agri from Oud-Vossemeer in the Netherlands has been active in the export of industrial vegetables for years. Owner Rien Veraart started his business in 1995, and a year later he opened his own branch in Podivin, in the Czech Republic. Yet the Dutchman still feels more like a farmer than a trader. “Although I do think it’s worrying that growers are this unappreciated.”
“Growers have been at the bottom of the supply chain for years. Retailers don’t feel bad at all about payment terms of 180 days, and the growers have drawn the short straw. I’m very worried about this. A lot of older growers are facing takeovers, but it’s impossible for the younger generations to take over a farm in a lot of cases,” Rien says.
“In all balance calculations in agriculture, costs for land and labour aren’t considered. That’s unbelievable. I know plenty of farmers that work more than 80 hours per week. In my opinion, they should be fairly compensated. In Canada, for instance, they work with basic-cost price-plus. Something like that should also be implemented in the Netherlands.”
“Of course farmers are also working with a certain entrepreneurial risk. However, the contracts agreed upon in the Netherlands in potatoes and onions have hardly any margins for the farmers. When I see the margins often in place for trade, I think farmers could definitely also be making more of a profit. I think this should get more attention,” Rien concludes.