Like their UK counterparts, Dutch greenhouse growers are suffering because of current record gas and energy prices, which have exceeded €1 per cu. m. It is estimated that heating the Dutch greenhouse industry accounts for 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, or about 8.2 per cent Dutch gas consumption overall.
High prices are causing many producers to cut back on lighting, end their growing season early, or plan a later start for next year. “These are drastic measures that reduce production and yield and have major economic consequences for the companies,” said industry association Glastuinbouw Nederland, which has established a ‘Greenhouse Crisis Team.’ “We cannot rule out whether consumers will also pay more for their vegetables, flowers, and plants.”
Maasdijk-based tomato grower Lans, which produces around 40 million kilograms of the fruit a year, and Operational Director Erwin van der Lans commented, “Eventually, you will produce less. That is starting now. Our production is now cut by about 10 per cent, which may go to 20 per cent. Eventually, the customers, little by little, will start paying more.
“Gas is about 25 per cent of my total costs,” he continued. “This time last year, a cubic metre of gas cost between 15 to 20 cents, and now the daily price is well over a euro. At that price, you lose money; you can’t grow for that. I have bought 60 to 70 per cent of my gas at a fixed price. I am only going to use that part, which means less lighting. The expectation is that we will then also achieve about 70 per cent of normal production.”
Picture caption: Dutch growers are reducing production due to record gas prices.