The Dutch horticultural sector was honored with visits from all over the world. Ministries, investors, horticultural entrepreneurs, universities, and horticulture associations from amongst others the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kazakhstan, and the US were in the Netherlands to learn how the Dutch ecosystem and Dutch advanced and smart tech solutions contribute to producing food safety and food security in their countries.
The delegations visited GreenTech, known as the worldwide meeting place for all professionals involved in horticultural technology, and the world horticultural exhibition Floriade Expo 2022 in Almere. On top of that, they had meetings with horticultural (technology) companies, government agencies, and agricultural training institutes. The incoming mission from the UAE was officially chaired by Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. The incoming mission from Kazakhstan is chaired by Tamabek Abylkhair Galymuly, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan.
One of the true highlights was the keynote speech of Minister Almheiri of the UAE at the Opening of the GreenTech in Amsterdam. Minister Almheiri of the UAE, who holds the climate change and food security portfolios, claimed that UAE aims to become a global hub for food innovation and technology just like the Netherlands … as one of the smallest countries yet the second-largest exporter when it comes to agricultural goods,” she said. Jan Kees Goet, secretary-general of the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, noted in his keynote speech that the terrible war in Ukraine has made people aware that food security is not always guaranteed and the Covid crisis was a wake-up call with distortions in international trade. “The key is to co-create by working with partners overseas to find local answers to global challenges while drawing expertise from high technology sectors, robotics, and artificial intelligence’’, he said. Later at the GreenTech, UAE Minister HE Mariam Bint Almheiri and the Dutch Secretary-General Drs. Jan Kees Goet, signed an MOU, which underlines the cooperation in contributing to food security in the UAE.
Another highlight was the speech of Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Tamabek Abulkhair Galymovich of Kazakhstan. He brought forward the huge governmental support to develop the sector with various incentives and subsidies, a business-friendly environment, and investor’s rights protection. Kazakhstan considers Dutch agriculture and horticulture technology and knowledge as an answer to Kazakhstan’s demand for self-sufficiency in food production, increased labor productivity, and eco-system development. Later that week, a meeting with the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food, Mr. Staghouwer, followed. They discussed how Dutch and Kazakhstani horticultural companies can strengthen each other.
The opening at GreenTech was followed by a special international knowledge program with panel discussions on how the application of sustainable and innovative technologies offers solutions for the water-food nexus in specific countries, like the UAE and the US. The high-level delegation then was given a guided tour at the GreenTech passing start-ups and state-of-the-art companies. The other days of the missions were used for meetings with horticultural (technology) companies, government agencies, and agricultural training institutes, which brought plenty of networking and matchmaking opportunities.
The incoming mission was organized by Dutch Greenhouse Delta, the Dutch Embassy in the UAE, Innovation Quarter, Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Rotterdam Partners with the support of AVAG, GreenTech, HortiHeroes, NLWorks, Council of Agriculture in the UAE, Top Sector Horticulture and Starting Materials and World Horti Center.