Volume sales up with more than 400,000 tonnes going to the UK The future of Dutch horticulture still looks clouded despite substantial reorganisation of The Greenery International to rationalise its marketing structure, admits chairman Bart Constandse in its annual report. The board believes several unpredictable elements still affect key European markets, from economic factors to trends within the multiples. Constandse reports that last year's results were affected by the continued decline in EU fruit and vegetable consumption and changes in eating habits. While 2000 was a good year for glasshouse production in terms of prices and developing new markets, fruit and open field producers saw prices dipping and competition growing more intense. The Geenery incurred a net loss of NLG5.8m guilders (£1.6m) compared with a net profit of NLG6.1m (£1.7m) the previous year. This figure included an extraordinary post-tax profit of NLG9.3m (£2.6m) compared with a loss of NLG6.5m (£1.8m) in 1999. Volume sales, however, increased. Holland realised record figures of 2.71 million tonnes, breaking the previous record of 2.68 million tonnes in 1997. Holland's largest customer Germany saw its share of imports decline slightly. The UK came a good second importing 400,000 tonnes. The overall chief contributors to growth were onions, carrots, pears and mushrooms. Glasshouse vegetables benefited from problems in Spain. However, because of a previous poor year, Dutch growers planted fewer red peppers, cucumbers and aubergines. "The tomato sector was having to cope with a shift away from loose fruit to tomatoes on the vine," says the report. Sales of the former benefited most from Spanish problems. The UK market faced greater competition for vine fruit from France and Belgium yet the amount bought by UK customers increased 43% over 1999. Demand for round tomatoes was also strong as a result of production cuts elsewhere in Europe. For the first time in 100 years, more loose Dutch tomatoes were exported to the UK than Germany. {{M/E FRESH PRODUCE }}