UK performing better than other import markets Dutch horticulture will continue to remain under pressure according to BJ Constandse, chairman of The Greenery International, who in the annual reports is not prepared to forecast the effects on the current season. Since the report was published nearly 550 growers have given notice that they intend to quit at the end of the year. But TGI claimed that 383 only accounted for some 2% of its sales and volumes will be replaced through increased production from affiliated groups. Reporting on the last season, BJ Constandse says that 1999 had been a bad time for the fruit and vegetable sector as a whole and his organisation set up to take over the role of the auctions by developing direct sales did not escape. Total exports of 2.6 million tonnes of all Dutch produce were broadly similar to last year but operational turnover had fallen from 2,714 million guilders to 2,213 million. But while Dutch growers experienced drops in price, the UK in fact performed better in volume terms than many markets with an overall reduction of only 2%. Tomato shipments rose by 12%, peppers 17% and cucumbers 8%. Other important crops were mushrooms, apples and pears, but onions, another major export, were dropped as a result of a bumper English crop. Meanwhile TGI reports favourable progress with its preference mapping scheme which is seeking to establish consumer attitudes to the broad groups of different tasting and shaped tomatoes available from European sources. Currently more than 130 varieties are being grown. Robin Barnett, UK marketing manager, says: "In future, this will both help promote greater collaboration among seed companies and growers and allow multiples to more closely meet specific consumer needs in line with category management principles." {{FRESH PRODUCE }}