News 263 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Dutch farm income falls sharply in 2008

Holland's farmers and market gardeners saw their incomes fall sharply this year due to higher energy, animal feed and fertilizer prices, the agriculture institute LEI said.

At the same time, farmers were paid less for their produce by supermarkets, LEI said.

LEI was asked to assess the likely effect of the credit crisis on Dutch farmers by the agriculture ministry.

The institute says in particular, ornamental plant growers, greenhouse gardeners and intensive pig farmers have been hit by rising costs. The demand for luxury flowers has gone down and American demand for pork products has fallen, LEI said.

However, the effects of the economic crisis on farming remain unclear because of the seasonal nature of farming, LEI director Ruud Huirne said.

The effect may be dampened because producers are pleased to take what they can get, Huirne said. In addition, they benefit because people have to eat, he said.

Prices are down by an average of 1%, while costs have risen 7%. The price of wheat, for example, has halved since summer 2007. Energy and fertilizer costs are up 65% and animal feed is 10% more expensive.

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