Netherlands Embassy and Consulates, China

Agri-food

Made in Holland

The Netherlands is a major agricultural powerhouse. Although small in size, the Netherlands it is the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world after the US. The Netherlands exported agricultural products worth $ 107 billion in 2013, which accounts for just short of 20% of the Dutch exports. Flowers, fruits and vegetables, cheese and other dairy products, meat and meat products, beer, chocolate, starch derivatives, and seeds; the Netherlands produces them all in large amounts for markets around the world. Dairy specifically covers 40% of the Dutch agro-export to China.

Both the Netherlands and China find themselves in an important phase of development, in which there is more and more concern for animal welfare, food safety and food security. Since the Chinese government puts the development of food supply and agriculture as high priority, the Netherlands and China can work together on the agricultural products distribution, knowledge and technology in this field.

The government of the Netherlands believes that healthy, safe food begins with sustainable agriculture and a concern for animal welfare. In this regard the Dutch and Chinese consumers share a concern for food safety and food security. Consumers need to have confidence that what they eat will not be harmful to their health. Moreover, there should be enough safe food available for everyone.

Changes in society have a large impact on the agricultural sector. The growing population and the rise in prosperity are changing consumer patterns, making raw materials scarcer and putting more pressure on the environment. This requires new ideas about the role agriculture plays in society. Agricultural production for sustainable and nutritious food for all consumers asks for changes. The government of the Netherlands attaches great value to sustainable production, careful use of insecticides and pesticides, and high standards for animal welfare.  

Disclaimer

Made in Holland; Agri-food is a publication issued by NL Agency, which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Copyright: Made in Holland / NL Agency.

When it comes to animal welfare in the Netherlands, there are statutory regulations and government requirements. Farmed animals, such as cows, pigs and hens are kept for their products such as milk or meat. In recent years the government has taken measures to improve animal welfare in livestock farming, and is bringing stricter rules to protect animals from mistreatment.

Where food safety deals with the quality of food products, food security focuses on the actual production and distribution of enough healthy food around the world, which is easily accessible for consumers. With an increasingly growing population, food security has become an important focus point of the government of the Netherlands by which they want to contribute to global food security.

The Netherlands exported agricultural products worth $ 107 billion in 2013, which accounts for just short of 20% of the Dutch exports. Only the U.S. exports more agricultural products than the Netherlands ($ 166 billion in 2013).

In the Netherlands the government monitors food safety. This entails that consumers need to be confident that what they are provided with is safe and healthy. Therefore, the food has to meet a wide range of quality specifications. Laws and regulations guarantee food safety at national and international level. Since 1993, for example, producers have had to obtain government approval before marketing a new food product.

Roughly 15% of all the manufactured food purchased in the Netherlands is thrown away uneaten. This waste originates from consumers, food producers, wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. This is a waste of money as well as energy. The transport and processing of waste produces additional CO2 emissions. The government of the Netherlands is therefore committed to reducing the unnecessary discarding of food.