China is facing a strong urbanization of its population and a growing demand for fresh and safe food by that urban population. To meet this demand, the Chinese government wants to modernize its agricultural sector. The current productivity per hectare is low, water use is high and suitable agricultural land is scarce and saline. In addition to technological innovation, the Chinese labor force must be trained to make this change in the agricultural sector.
This offers a great opportunity for the Dutch horticulture industry, as a forerunner in the world, to export knowledge, technology, services and concepts and to implement them in China.
As of January 2021, DGD has started a PIB together with RVO. PIB stands for Partners for International Business and is a program that allows Dutch companies to realise their international ambitions in a public-private partnership. This PIB, called ‘NL Protected Agri Alliance China’, aims to position the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector in China as the cooperation partner for the development and implementation of integral and sustainable high-tech greenhouse horticulture agroparks near metropolitan areas.
The Netherlands is a specialist in combining all parties in the horticultural sector in a coherent agro-cluster at a single geographical location. We are promoting this cluster concept in China based on an ecosystem approach. The Netherlands is also a leader in the field of sustainable and energy-efficient greenhouse horticulture based on an increasing number of sustainable energy sources (including solar energy, geothermal energy, biofuels and combined heat and power plants), the use of LED lighting and the capture of CO2 released by heating the greenhouse. Efficient use of its own residual streams and those of other parties in the area is an important component of this.
There is a huge export potential in the future, because more and more Chinese are living in metropolitan areas. This potential applies to both SMEs and large companies that will work together to conquer this metropolitan market.
By joining forces, horticultural companies, the Dutch government, and knowledge institutions can present themselves more strongly than individual parties.