Agri and Food Industry in the Netherlands

Agri and Food Industry in the Netherlands

The top sector Agri and Food accounts for nearly 10% of Dutch national income and employment. Agri & Food includes everything around food, both primary production and treating, processing, marketing and distribution. Moreover, the Netherlands is a global supplier of the most successful and innovative Agri and Food companies and knowledge institutions. The growth of the world increases the importance of the sector, but also presents major challenges. For example, in the area of ​​sustainability, health and food security.

In 2010, the then Cabinet Rutte 1 started with the top sector policy. The government wants to make top sectors, in which the Netherlands excels worldwide, even stronger. Agri and Food is one of them, because the industry already has a strong position and growth opportunities. This means that the government is investing in companies and science-oriented in this top sector.

Agri and Food includes primary production, the supply industry and manufacturing (food) industry. But auctions, trade, retail and out of home sector are also at home in this leading international top sector.

Some of the products from the Food & Agri sector are sold as a finished product at home and abroad. In addition, the manufacturing (food) industry is used largely as input. In terms of production Agri & Food is the third largest top sector. It also contributes to measure the top sectors and remain competitive in the global market.

In the field of Agriculture & Food, in addition to well-known companies, a very large number of small players are active. This is mainly due to the relatively large size of the primary sector in the Agri-Food & domain. Agri & Food houses the largest number of self-employed people of all key sectors. Cooperatives are an important organization in the Dutch Agri & Food business. The Netherlands is one of the most cooperative countries in Europe. Agri & Food excels in innovation and productivity. Of the 40 major food and beverage companies in the world 12 companies are established in the Netherlands. The Netherlands also has a strong research base for Agri and Food.

Facts & Figures


Production (x million euro)


Working people
(x1000 fte)


Number of companies


Source: CBS (2015): Monitor topsectors 2015, results 2011, 2012 en 2013