EXTERNAL ECONOMIES OF LOCALISATION IN HORTICULTURE

Dr. W.J. Sangers
Interregional localisation is a dynamic element of importance in horticulture, that is closely connected with the presence of so-called external economies.

I would not dwell now upon all kinds of regionally different natural conditions of production, but we may concentrate here on the impact of external economies on the localisation of horticulture.

Now first, of what consist the external economies in horticulture, what is the nature of this specific "center-function" as we call the external economies for horticulture in Holland?

A not dispersed or more centralized localisation of a large number of horticultural holdings leads to the existence of a "center-function" that comprises of the following points: the presence of (Dutch) co-operative growers' auctions for selling the produce to the tradesmen; of a horticulture-minded population in the horticultural center and a labour-force well experienced in this industry; of special horticultural schools and courses; of regional extension services, of a regional horticultural research station, transport-businesses specialized in horticultural products; purveyors of special horticultural implements and services such as soilsteaming; the presence of glasshouse-builders; of merchants specialized in horticultural seeds, insecticides, etc.; of printers for horticultural catalogues, of horticulturists specializing in growing and selling young plants to the others; the fact that growers can exchange views and see the quality of the other man's products at the auction or products co-operative: a significant number of buying and competing tradesmen on the spot and a certain may I say political representation of a special horticultural center. So these external economies are active on the sales- as well as on the production-side of horticulture and they have been so for many centuries already!

Not all branches of horticulture are equally localisation-sensitive to the external economies or center-function, as is horticultural glasshouse-production. Here of course, the perishability of many of the expensive glasshouse-products plays its role, needing a very quick and adequate despatch such as can be furnished by specialists. Moreover, modern times ask for large lots of quality-homegeneous products in a broad assortment. It is therefore indispensible that a grower's daily glasshouse-produce be quickly assembled with that of his colleagues. This tendency towards larger units is also visible in the exporting-business of vegetables and fruits. In 10 years' time, the number of exporters in Holland fell by 25%, whereas the export-value was multiplied by four! The average sales per exporter in this branch are now to be about Dfl. 5 mln a year to give him a decent living.

Now as to the question of the settling of new horticultural glasshouse-holdings:

Sangers, Dr. W.J. (1969). EXTERNAL ECONOMIES OF LOCALISATION IN HORTICULTURE. Acta Hortic. 13, 18-21
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1969.13.2
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1969.13.2
13_2
18-21