As a country with a small surface area, the Netherlands relies on inventiveness and efficiency to drive high production in our horticulture sector, across the supply chain. Today, we produce 46% of the global export value of base materials, vegetables, ornamentals, potatoes and grasses. The collaboration between government, entrepreneurs and research institutes boosts the pace of innovation in our country. It allows us to attain the highest efficiency in agricultural technology in the world.
In 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses in the horticultural sector. In March 2020, the export value of horticultural products such as flowers, plants, bulbs, and nursery products declined by 22% year-on-year. This is reported in Dutch trade Facts and Figures by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on provisional figures. The Dutch government provides compensation for entrepreneurs who can no longer export their produce.
A resilient global sector
Despite the pandemic, development and innovations in the Dutch horticulture sector keep moving forward. The resilience of the horticulture sector was evident during the GreenTech 2020 virtual conference, where 6,300 professionals from the global horticulture community connected, shared knowledge and learned about the latest innovations.
All speakers during the webinar agreed controlled environment agriculture and vertical farming could be part of the solution. In the past months, the value of local vertical farms has been reaffirmed. As companies were able to deliver their products quickly and easily to consumers or people could use a so-called pick-up point. And because relatively few people are needed at the production sites, there was no shortage of workers due to corona measures.