The Netherlands, 270 Times Smaller than the US, is the World’s 2nd Largest Agricultural Exporter

The Northern European country of the Netherlands has risen to become the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, after the United States (US). According to National Geographic research, the Netherlands exported 92 billion euros worth of agricultural products in 2017. The US, on the other hand, maintains its lead in this sector with 140.5 billion dollars in exports.

The Netherlands does not achieve this export volume by solely producing and selling every product domestically. A portion of this figure, 25.5 billion euros, comes to the Netherlands from other countries in the form of seeds, fruits, vegetables, animal products, and garden products. These are then processed in the country and re-exported to other countries.

A significant portion of the agricultural products sold by the Netherlands consists of flowers and flower bulbs, such as tulips, carnations, and roses. This is followed by dairy products in second place and meat exports in third place.

At the Top of Tomato, Pepper, and Cucumber Production

The Netherlands has the world’s highest percentage of harvested land compared to planted area for fruit and vegetable production. The Netherlands is the world’s leading exporter of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, which are widely consumed around the globe. The technology developed by Dutch farmers is used in 140 different countries, including China, India, Mexico, Ghana, and Ethiopia.

The Netherlands sells 25% of its agricultural products to neighboring Germany. Its largest markets in Europe after Germany are Belgium, the United Kingdom, and France. In addition to agricultural products, the Netherlands also exports fertilizers, pesticides, and agricultural machinery used in agriculture, generating over 9 billion euros in exports annually.

A Small Country with a Big Impact

The world’s number one agricultural exporter, the US, has a land area 270 times larger than this North European country. With a population of 17 million, the Netherlands has 1,300 people per square kilometer. According to data, the amount of agricultural products to be produced in the next 40 years will be greater than the amount produced in the world in the past 8,000 years. The world’s population is expected to exceed 10 billion by 2050, which some experts believe could lead to global food shortages in the future.

Key Takeaways

  • The Netherlands’ agricultural success is due to a combination of factors, including technology, innovation, logistics, human capital, sustainability, and specialization.
  • The Dutch government provides various incentives and support to the agricultural sector.
  • The Netherlands can serve as a model for other countries seeking to increase agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Lessons from the Netherlands

  • Invest in technology and innovation in agriculture.
  • Train a qualified workforce.
  • Encourage sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Specialize in certain products to increase competitiveness in the global market.
  • Provide government support to the agricultural sector.

By implementing these steps, other countries can unlock their agricultural potential and become more significant players in the global agricultural market.

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