Rien Veraart, Veraart Agri:
"Incomprehensible that growers in the Netherlands are so undervalued"
Tholen - Oud-Vossemeer-based Veraart Agri has been exporting industrial vegetables for many years. The owner Rien Veraart started his business in 1995 and opened his own branch in Podivin, Czech Republic, a year later. Nevertheless, he still feels more like a farmer than a trader. "But I do find it worrying that growers are so undervalued," he says.
"Growers have been dangling at the bottom of the chain for years. Retailers apply 180-day payment terms without blinking an eye and the grower gets the short end of the stick. This worries me a lot. Many older growers are facing a takeover, but in many cases the younger generations cannot afford to take over the arable farm," says Rien.
"All balance calculations in arable farming do not include land costs and labour costs. That's incredible, isn't it. I know plenty of farmers who easily have to work 80 hours a week very hard. In my view, they should be compensated accordingly. In Canada, for instance, they work with a basic cost-plus price. Something like that should also be possible in the Netherlands."
"Of course, a farmer also has to deal with a certain entrepreneurial risk. But the contracts agreed in the Netherlands in potatoes and onions, there is hardly any margin between them for the farmer. If I see how much margin is often left by the trade, then the farmer should also be allowed a bit more at the top of the line. This should get much more attention as far as I am concerned," Rien concludes.
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