Currently, fruit and vegetable supplies are essential. That's because people are demanding healthy products. Belgian and Dutch farmers produce mainly vegetables. Every year, In Belgium, they grow about 1,7 million tons of vegetables. In the Netherlands, it's 5 million, of which 1,5 million are onions.
Belgium produces 150kg of vegetables per capita. In the Netherlands, it's 300kg, excluding more than 200kg of onions. In both countries, apples and pears are the main fruits. In total, Belgium produces 620.000kg of fruit annually, and the Netherlands, 760.000kg. Per inhabitant, that's 55 and 45kg, respectively.
More locally-grown vegetables
International trade is of great importance in both the Netherlands and Belgium. In the case of vegetables, exports are the main driving force in the Dutch sector. It's estimated that 75% of all vegetables grown in the Netherlands leave the country as fresh produce. In Belgium's case, that's 50%. There, the (frozen) industry is a major vegetable player. Annually, 1,2 million tons of vegetables go to that industry. This includes a significant amount of imported vegetables too. Most of which come from the Netherlands.
In the past year, Belgium exported no less than 1,55 million tons of frozen vegetables. The Netherlands exported only slightly more than 300.000kg of these. For the Netherlands, vegetable re-exports also play an important role. In the past year, an estimated 1,2 million fresh vegetables entered Europe via the Netherlands. For Belgium, that involved just under 100,000 tons.
Mostly imported fruit
Both Belgium and the Netherlands imports dominate the fresh fruit sector. Belgium imported 2,2 million tons of fruit last year, of which 1,2 million were bananas. In the same period, the Netherlands imported 5,2 million tons of fruit, including 1,3 million tons of bananas. Belgium exported 1,8 million tons of fresh fruit. About 70% were re-exports. Of the 4.2 million tons of fresh fruit the Netherlands exported last year, less than ten percent were Dutch products.
Dutch imports: 60% from overseas; Belgium 45%
Perhaps of increasing importance is the question of how far fresh fruit and vegetables has to come, and how far away they're sold. Most of both Belgian and Dutch fresh fruit and vegetable imports come from overseas. For Belgium, it's 45%, and for the Netherlands, it's 60%.
Belgium imports quite a lot from its neighboring countries, 45%. Regarding exports, it sends 70% of fresh fruit and vegetable exports to its neighbors. The Dutch ship 50% of this to its neighboring countries. The Netherlands also exports quite a lot to Scandinavia and overseas countries. The latter applies to particularly onions.