As a result of the growth in the world population, the demand for horticultural products is increasing significantly worldwide, with growth markets emerging outside of Europe, in addition to the European domestic market. Moreover, both the domestic and international markets are increasingly demanding high-quality horticultural products at a higher price. This internationalisation brings with it opportunities for the Horticulture & Starting Materials top sector.

The Dutch Horticulture & Starting Materials top sector includes the production of fruit, vegetables and ornamentals (greenhouse and outdoors). Much of the sector is involved in starting materials, which includes products such as seedlings, seed stock and seeds. The Dutch Horticultural sector is the biggest exporter of fresh vegetables in the world. And Dutch cut flowers, bulbs and seed potatoes are sold the world over. With its expertise, innovative approach, entrepreneurial spirit and international outlook, the Netherlands is an international leader in the field. The Dutch horticulture sector is a global trendsetter and the undisputed international market leader in flowers, plants, bulbs and propagation material. It is also the number three exporter of nutritional horticulture products.

Many flowers abroad are sold through the Netherlands generating an annual turnover of €6 billion. Dutch flowers are increasingly grown abroad on account of the favourable climate. Dutch roses are grown in Kenya, for example, and there are Dutch flower nurseries in Ethiopia, Brazil, Ecuador and China. Internationally, Dutch expertise is deployed in the fields of glasshouse technology and the purchase and sale of flowers.

Global challenges
Global challenges, such as enough safe food, safe and tasty food and better health for a growing world population, will define our agricultural and horticultural policy over the coming decades. The world’s population is growing and ageing and is becoming ever more urban. The climate is changing and global economic and social inequality are continuing to increase. The sector must achieve higher yields that meet stringent quality requirements, using less energy, space, labour, pesticides, nutrients and water: more and better with less.