Farmers call for campaign to raise awareness of benefits of organic food


Disappointing sales of organic products have prompted Dutch farmers to ask for value added tax on their products to be scrapped and for a major government campaign to promote consumption, public broadcaster NOS reports.

An end to VAT – currently 9% on all food – and more public awareness of the benefits of organic produce are just two proposals in a ten point plan organic farmers will be presenting to  agriculture minister Carola Schouten.

Organic food only represented 3.1% of Dutch supermarket turnover of €40bn last year, virtually unchanged from 2018.

‘We are not going to meet European targets in this way,’ director Michaël Wilde of sector organisation Bionext told the broadcaster. ‘We need to have a market share of 25% by 2030 and more needs to be done to achieve that.’

The sector is calling on politicians to set up a task force ‘for a healthy, honest and sustainable agricultural system aimed both at production and consumption,’ Wilde said.

Publicity campaigns in countries like Germany, Switzerland and Austria have been successful, Wilde said, and it is time Dutch consumers too increase their knowledge of healthy food.

Previous research has suggested price is a major reason why consumers don’t buy more organic products and a ban on VAT may help Dutch consumers make the switch, cheese maker Monique Hospers-Brand told NOS.

‘Dutch consumers, unlike for instance, Germans, are not inclined to spend a lot on food,’ cheese maker Monique Hospers-Brands told NOS. ‘And organic products are slightly more expensive. But they are getting better because they realise good food comes at a price.’

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