06 April 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Figures published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) this week reveal how heavily the Netherlands relies on Ukrainian imports; last year, 84 percent of the crude sunflower oil imported by the Netherlands came from Ukraine.

Dutch sunflower oil and maize imports

In 2021, the Netherlands was the EU’s largest importer of Ukrainian sunflower oil and maize, spending a total of 538 million and 536 million euros on each. 42 percent of the maize and 84 percent of the crude sunflower oil imported by the Netherlands were produced in Ukraine.

While not all of these imported goods end up on Dutch shelves, products from Ukraine play a large role in Dutch industry; after being processed in factories in the Netherlands, 66 percent of the imported maize and 85 percent of the crude sunflower oil are exported to countries around the world.

The Netherlands spent over 2 billion on Ukrainian goods in 2021

According to CBS, the Netherlands imported over 2 billion euros worth of goods from Ukraine in 2021, 88 percent of which was spent on the importation of agricultural products such as maize and various cooking oils, making Ukraine the Netherlands’ 10th-largest agricultural importer in 2021, behind the likes of Germany, France, and Brazil.

As the war in Ukraine rages on, the Netherlands potentially faces severe shortages of certain products, placing pressure on producers and supermarkets to seek out alternatives, and resulting in panic-buying and empty shelves. 

Maize is used as animal feed in the farming industry, and severe shortages could drive up the prices of meat and dairy products. Meanwhile, there are alternatives available for sunflower oil, including palm oil and rapeseed oil – although these can be more expensive.

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