Organic farming is a rapidly growing sector within the Netherlands –as consumers are increasingly seeking alternatives for the food produced in conventional large-scale farms, with high use of agro-chemicals. In fact, consumption of organic food is one of the few sectors within our stagnated economy that has been growing with double figures over the past years. With a goal of 10% increase per year, the actual growth was 12.5 % in 2010, 17% in 2011 and in 2012 was 14.3%. (see Biomonitor report 2012)
Organic dairy farming has high market share
Most people buy their organic produce in super markets – that now have an average number of 155 organic products in their total chain. There is also growing number of special organic shops, as well as web shops and delivery services. Moreover, there is a growing tendency for young people to buy organic foods.
In the process total sale of organic products in the Netherlands has increased from 750 million Euros in 2010 to 1 billion (1000 million) Euros in 2013 though the total market share is still quite small: growing from 1.4% in 2000 to 2.3% in 2012. Products of animal origin have highest market shares: organic eggs (9.6%) and dairy products (4.8%).
Opportunities to visit an organic farm
At local level, this means a growing opportunity for farmers and local retailers, especially because consumers are increasingly looking for the origins of their food.
That is why Bionext as part of their Start Organic Campaign is organising “Visit the farmer” days – on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 of June 2014. If you are in the Netherlands during that period, you can easily visit inter esting farms, enjoy numerous activities and eat local produce.In 2013 this attracted 56.000 people throughout the country. A major opportunity for Dutch organic farmers to show their value within modern society – with consumers increasingly interested in natural foods and a healthy life style.
Other initiatives include WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms ) – an international organization that links volunteers with organic farmers and smallholders. In turn for volunteer work, these farmers offer accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic life style. There is no WOOFF initiative within the Netherlands yet, but there are opportunities in countries like Belgium, Germany or the UK