During the 25th anniversary of BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food and VIVANESS the International Trade Fair for Natural Personal Care running parallel 12-15 February, it was announced that the Netherlands will be the Country of the Year at next years’ event.

Agriculture Minister Sharon Dijksma visited this year’s BIOFACH To formalize the agreement and to gather information on the latest international developments in the organic sector. “I am pleased that being Country of the Year in 2015 gives us an excellent opportunity for presenting the quality, variety and sustainability of Dutch organic agriculture to a professional international audience,” she said.

The Netherlands has offered a broad spectrum of organically produced products for many years at the show, also evidenced in the vibrant organic and natural stores in Amsterdam.

Forecasts assume that this trend will increase. The Netherlands is already one of the top 5 countries represented at BIOFACH. The Dutch government actively supporting sustainable agriculture and there are currently some 1,500 organic companies, farming on about 54,000 ha (63% pasture). Dutch organic farms are about 60% larger than conventional farms, with the average farm size 42 ha. Approx. 100,000 employees work in the Dutch organic sector. Total annual sales of organic products reached 1.07€ billion in 2013 according to Bionext and reported by BIOFACH in a release. The supermarket chains are responsible for 55% of the distribution of organic products, while 30% is in the hands of the specialist retailers, 8% with the hospitality industry and the remaining 7% is shared among e-stores, home deliveries and weekly markets.

The Netherlands is an export-oriented country with approximately one € billion in turnover generated from organic food exports. Export of organic products increased 10% in 2013 compared to the previous year.

Rotterdam is the most important port for organic products from faraway countries. Offering good value for money, great planning and effective logistics, the Dutch organic industry has developed into a key partner for both national and international wholesale and retail firms.

About half of organic Dutch exports go to Germany, followed by Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Main organic trading players include Tradin (now part of Sunopta),Eosta and Do-it. The organic sector in the Netherlands has a share of 3.2% of the total food market (a little behind Germany at 3.9%) and shows great growth potential especially in the dairy sector. The main Dutch organic wholesalers are Udea, Natudis and Odin.

At BIOFACH this year the Netherlands presented 88 exhibitors and 1,174 visitors. The next edition of BIOFACH in Nuremberg will take place 11–14 February, 2015.