Dutch trail Europe in organic farming, target a long way off

Organic curly cale being farmed in Noord Holland. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Just 4% of Dutch agricultural land is certified organic, almost the lowest percentage within the EU, according to new figures from European statistics agency Eurostat.

While many EU countries are nearing the target of ensuring 25% of agricultural land is organic by 2030, growth in the Netherlands has stagnated, the Eurostat figures show. The Netherlands also has a lower target than the rest of the EU – just 15%.

By contrast, 27% of Austrian farmland and 23% of Estonian arable farms are organic, Eurostat said. The figures date from 2022.

Experts told NOS that a number of factors are behind the lack of progress, including a passive government and reluctance by banks to extend credit. This, they say, makes it difficult for farmers to switch to more sustainable farming methods.

In addition, farmers are only certified organic after two years, so face two seasons of more expensive production and lower earnings.

In January, national statistics agency CBS said the Netherlands now has 1,900 organic farms, a rise of 5% on 2015, but the number of hectares classified as organic is up 72% as farms expand in size. In addition, a further 200 farms were in the process of switching to organic production methods in 2023, the CBS said.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation