Science - August 26, 2009

Best farming regions outside Netherlands

Dutch farmers face high land prices and environmental costs.

The liberalization of agricultural policy is causing Dutch agriculture to lose out to some neighbouring countries. The reason is high production costs in urban Holland. This is the view Tia Hermans of Alterra expresses in the next issue of Land use policy. She evaluated the strength of agriculture in 160 regions of the European Union, using criteria for profit, people and planet.
 
The Netherlands scores well on competitiveness (profit) and labour productivity (people), but when it comes to planet it does only averagely. Farmers face higher land prices and environmental costs than colleagues in sparsely populated areas with highly productive agribusinesses in Denmark and parts of Germany and France. Hermans expects that businesses in the northern Netherlands will stay competitive but farmers elsewhere in the country much less so. ® AS

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