Dutch organic farmers complain about high food prices in supermarkets

The margins that Dutch supermarkets use for organic products are much too high, say organic farmers. As a result, it is uncertain whether the Netherlands will meet the European standard that says that a quarter of all agriculture must be organic from 2030. 

The margins on organic products must be reduced to those of conventionally produced vegetables, fruit and meat, according to organic farmers' organization Biohuis. This position is also supported by market watchdog ACM. In a recent letter to Agriculture Minister Piet Adema, ACM states that VAT on organic products can be reduced or abolished. 

The Netherlands is at the rear in organic farming in Europe, with only 4.4% of all farms using sustainable cultivation methods. Austria has already passed the 25% standard, aided by supermarkets promoting organic products and offering them at affordable prices. 

At the moment the margins are much too large, says Biohuis spokesman Jaap Korteweg. 'At Albert Heijn, a kilo of regular carrot costs €1.19, but a kilo of organic carrot costs €1.99. It costs an organic farmer 35 cents to grow them compared to 20 cents for a conventional farmer. That only saves 15 cents,' Korteweg told Algemeen Dagblad. 

To make up for the initial loss, supermarkets could increase margins on unhealthy and unsustainable products, he said. In a response, Albert Heijn says it is already promoting organic products, while supermarket Plus says that the dairy products 100% are organic. Aldi told the newspaper it had no plans to change margins on their organic products.