Organic acreage in the Netherlands increased by 5.9% last year, to 79.664 ha, according to the annual organic industry figures (2020) published by Skal Biocontrol on its website. The number of registered agricultural companies grew from 2,076 to 2,115. Despite the growth, fewer farmers switched to organic (22% less) for the sixth year in a row. A trend that started in 2016: that year 245 farmers made the switch, in 2019: 124 and in 2020: 96 farmers. A decline caused not only by the uncertainty regarding agricultural policy in the Netherlands but also by lagging demand.
The organic market share in Dutch supermarkets remains relatively small with 3.2% (Bionext trend report 2019). "If the demand for organic products were to rise, farmers would consider switching. This requires stimuli, for example with a public campaign from the government and retailers that are open to stimulating the purchase of organic products in the store. We see that it is possible during BioKennisWeek. If more consumers buy organic, there are plenty of farmers who want to switch. Because they are entrepreneurs who look for opportunities," says Michael Wilde, CEO of Bionext, the trade association for the organic industry.
An uncertain vision of the future and the uncertainty concerning the agricultural policy mean that more farmers decide to stop. Despite this, organic farming goes against the trend: organic acreage and the number of registered organic growers has increased slightly. This means that the share of organic acreage is increasing in relation to the total acreage.
The total organic acreage in the Netherlands is 79.664 ha (2020) and has grown by 5.9% compared to 2019. A total of 4,459 hectares of agricultural land was added. The growth in organic acreage comes mainly from existing organic farms that are already certified. The largest growth (in %) of organic acreage is found in Drenthe (+15.3%) and Zeeland (+14.6%). And the largest absolute growth is found in Flevoland (+888 ha) and Drenthe (+847 ha).
For more information: www.bionext.nl
Various media have reported about fewer growers switching over to organic. Caring Farmers responds: "Switching is expensive, the government hasn't been helping farmers with this for years. And the supermarkets' advertising policy is not helping this." The Volkskrant emphasizes that aid is on its way in the form of the new platform Aardpeer. And on NOS it is especially the picture that was initially posted with the article (a plowing horse) that raised questions.
Alle vooroordelen over Randstedelijke journalistiek weer met één beeld bevestigd.— Antoon Kanis (@AntoonKanis) January 21, 2021
Denken ze in Hilversum echt dat ploegen met een paard een representatief beeld is bij een artikel over biologische landbouw?! https://t.co/PAlxusQXd9
Nou heb ik in 30 jaar tijd mijn vader (biologisch boer) nog nooit een akker zien ploegen met paard en wagen. Bovendien is (veel) ploegen slecht voor het bodemleven. Wat een slechte foto 😣 https://t.co/qSHFxOZWG8— Klaske Postma (@KlaskePostma) January 21, 2021
The picture has since been modified.