Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Tracking cookies

To make our website even easier and more personal, we use cookies (and similar techniques). With these cookies we and third parties can collect information about you and monitor your internet behavior within (and possibly also outside) our website. If you agree with this, we will place these tracking cookies.

Yes, I give permissionNo thanks
What are you looking for...
+31 318 301731 0318 301731
Shopping cart
Best quality price ratio
Delivery through Europe
Latest news

Latest news

We will keep you updated

27 January 2023

Fruit growers worried about future of their farms

Fruit growers worried about future of their farms

Source: Omroep Gelderland.

Author: Teunis van der Poel

OPIJNEN (NL) - Fruit growers in the Rivierengebied (The Netherlands) are worried about the future of their business. According to the Dutch Fruit Growers Organization (NFO), more and more fruit growers are facing financial challenges. "Costs are going up, but yields are under considerable pressure."

At first sight, nothing seems wrong at fruit farm Verstegen in Opijnen. 39-year-old Sander Verstegen is busy pruning at the family farm his grandfather started in 1956. "We are getting our orchards ready for the new season. With our apples and pears we hope to earn a good living again this year."

Increasing costs

But appearances can be deceptive, because, according to Verstegen, it is highly questionable whether ánd how thickly invested that sandwich will be this year. "Because in addition to high inflation, we have to deal with high energy costs for the power consumption of our coolers. After all, you want to keep the product cold and deliver it at the right time. But starting January 1, we also have to deal with a ten percent increase on the minimum wage. But that doesn't mean our product will bring in more."

Store prices are good, according to Verstegen, and consumers continue to buy apples and pears. "For a kilo of Golden Delicious you pay about 1.29 to 1.49 euros in the store. As fruit growers, we only get about 30 to 40 euro cents for that. That difference is really far too big."

Ban on pesticides

Verstegen says more dark clouds are gathering over his family's fruit farm. "That has everything to do with the systematic banning of pesticides. More and more pesticides have been banned in recent years, and that trend will continue in the coming years. For example, in 2025 we may spray our pear trees for the last time with Movento, a pesticide against pear leaf flea."

Pesticides fruit grower

Stopping the use of pesticides is not an issue in itself, according to Verstegen. "But there are no good alternative agents on the market yet. And that's exactly where the crux lies."

With current pesticides, Verstegen can pick at least 90 pounds of good-selling fruit from 100 pounds of fruit. "But in the absence of good alternatives, the number of kilograms of good saleable fruit goes down. That means we have less return. If you set that off against the ever-increasing costs, it's really a question of whether we can continue to be a fruit grower."

Lowering taxes?

Marc André de la Porte, as vice president of the NFO, recognizes those concerns. "Around me I hear that more and more fruit growers are struggling financially. It would certainly help if retailers gave us higher compensation and imported less fruit. But the Dutch government should also take a look at the tax on labor that employers have to pay. If you compare that to Germany and Belgium, we pay relatively much more in the Netherlands. Reducing this tax would give employers some breathing space again."

Both Verstegen and André de la Porte agree.

"Fruit growing is such a beautiful profession and it belongs to the Rivierengebied (The Netherlands). Let's do everything we can to keep this beautiful sector for our area."

Source: Omroep Gelderland.

Author: Teunis van der Poel