Dutch gov't to promote locally sourced products in supermarkets

Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality wants supermarkets to stock more locally sourced products. She believes that a short food chain will strengthen the connection between farmers, conservationists and consumers, and thereby increase consumers' appreciation for food and where it comes from. 

The Minister is therefore organizing, in collaboration with the provinces, a special trade mission to make local products more widely known and to stimulate short chains of delivery, Schouten wrote in a letter to parliament.

Schouten is talking to supermarkets about stocking a broader range of products that are only sold regionally. She wants to tackle obstacles in the way of getting regional products to supermarkets. There are often higher logistics costs involved in products produced only regionally than products produced on a larger scale. Small scale-producers also sometimes encounter problems with legislation and regulations that are primarily intended for large-scale producers. She will work on identifying and addressing these issues, without compromising food safety, she said. A monitor will be established to track the development of Dutch regional products, and their availability in local stores.

To strengthen the bond between farmers and consumers, the Minister also wants to encourage initiatives that focus on local food, a fair price for the producer and creating more connections between farmers and city dwellers. She will therefore establish a Multifunctional Agriculture Platform to support things like farm shops and agricultural child care.