Farmers in the Dutch countryside grow almost nothing these days, and their produce is so scarce that they sometimes find themselves in a situation where they have to spend more time growing their own food than they do raising livestock.
The Netherlands has a population of just over 7 million, but it is one of the poorest in the European Union, with an average per capita income of less than $1,400.
And yet, thanks to a system that has historically favoured farmers, the country’s farmers are being forced to grow more than half of the countrys produce.
The government recently announced plans to give every farmer an additional 10% raise, while introducing a system where farmers will be given a guaranteed 1% increase in their income if they grow the maximum amount of crops allowed.
The government, however, is only doing what it can.
It has set aside 20 million kroner ($22.5 million) for farmers who have raised enough crops, but only about 1 million of those funds have been allocated for the new system.
The problem is that while the Dutch are not exactly in the top tier of countries that rely on agribusiness, their agricultural sector is actually one of Europe’s best, and there are still plenty of places in the country where farmers can grow the most food, and produce the most profits.
So why do so few farmers in Holland, who are usually able to afford their own production, have to resort to such extreme measures?
And what is it that makes farmers grow so many crops that it takes them so long to get to the point where they can produce enough food?
It’s a complex question that will hopefully be answered in a future episode of Catch Up.
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