16 April 2020
THE HAGUE, Netherlands: The Ministry of Agriculture issues an agreement in principle for €600 million coronavirus relief package for struggling Dutch ornamental horticulture sector.
When COVID-19 protection measures began, the sudden drop in demand for horticultural products hit growers hard. The Dutch government’s first financial measures proved insufficient to cope with the specific challenges of perishable and seasonal stock. Agriculture minister, Carola Schouten, acknowledges the three-month wage subsidies, introduced in week 12, were not enough.
The minister’s broader business stimulus plan includes a revenue compensation scheme for companies that have been hammered in recent weeks by a collapse in demand. Most of the stock is already in the ground and growers cannot merely halt production or stop harvesting. As a result, companies have to deal with continuous fixed costs, but also constant production costs
The scheme’s criteria stipulate that the first 30 percent of the loss of turnover is for the horticultural entrepreneur with the government compensating the remaining 70 per cent revenue losses.
Those eligible are enterprises that have suffered a substantial loss in revenues in March, April and May 2020 compared to the same months in the three previous fiscal years. The €600 million stimulus package will allow growers to pay their seasonal workers.
Overseeing the aid package is the Dutch Enterprise Agency RVO.