Agricultural foreign trade between the Netherlands and the Andean countries: Developments during the COVID-19 pandemic

This is the first article presenting trade flows of agricultural products between the Netherlands and the Andean countries: Colombia, Peru and Ecuador; after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While in the Netherlands we had the first official COVID-19 case at the end of February, causing a major blow to agricultural exports already in March, in these countries strict quarantine measures entered into force in the second half of March, showing its first effects on trade in April.

This analysis compares the trade flows from January until April during 2020 and the two previous years.


In April 2020 the Colombian exports to NL remained practically at the same level as the previous month. In the same period, the exports from NL to Colombia, however, showed a (steep) decline from 7,071,000 EUR to EUR 4,287,000 which is a decrease of 65%, right just at the beginning of the pandemic in Colombia, when national lock-down measures were adopted. The trade flow was most hardly affected in the following products[SBA1] : milk and cream, bulbs, live plants, animal or vegetables fats and oils, cocoa preparations, preparations of cereals and preparation of vegetables.


The bilateral trade flows between Peru and NL, remained fairly stable during the first 4 months of 2020. An increase can even be appreciated in April compared to March and a (steep) increase comparing April 2020 to the same month in the previous years. Therefore, COVID-19 seems to have had little effect on agricultural trade between these two countries in April.  

As it may be seen in the graph below, the value of Dutch exportations to Peru has almost doubled in the first 4 months of 2020, passing from 5,250,000 EUR to 9,647,000 EUR. The main products driving this increase are: cheese and curd, bulbs, oil seeds, fats and oils, cocoa preparations, preserved vegetables, products of the milling industry like flour, meal flakes, preparation of cereals like malt extract, food preparations, beverages spirit and vinegars.

On the other hand, exports from Peru to NL decreased in February 2020 mainly because of fish and crustaceans, vegetables like onion, shallots, garlic, fruits like bananas and blueberries, coffee, oil seeds and preserved fruits. However March and April have had an upward trend.


Last but not least, when taking a closer look at the bilateral trade in April between Ecuador and NL, COVID-19 seems to have had a similar effect as it did on the bilateral trade with Colombia. Like in the two previous years, both export and import between NL and Ecuador increased in February 2020, followed by a decline in March, and a continued fall in April. Exports from NL to Ecuador in April 2020 dropped by 25%, the main products that fell in that month in comparison to the previous were: live animals, bulbs, products of the milling industry, food preparations, beverages and spirits.

Moreover, a rather steep decline in export of agricultural products from Ecuador to the Netherlands is appreciated, from 43,632,000 EUR in March to 31,125,000 EUR in April 2020, the lowest when comparing with the same month of the previous two years. This decrease is mainly due to lower exports of crustaceans, cut flowers, bananas, cereal flours, palm oil, preserved fish and cocoa butter.

As soon as we have the trade figures corresponding to May 2020 we will come back to you.