The power of collective international collaboration

Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD) hosted April 17’s Let’s Connect networking event, bringing together 70 attendees from the horticultural sector in the heart of Dutch horticulture: World Horti Center. The event featured Freek Vossenaar, an experienced diplomat and the special envoy at the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality (LNV) in The Hague.

With 8 years of diplomatic service in Japan and over 20 years of experience in international agriculture, Vossenaar shared his invaluable insights into the strategies that drive successful international collaborations.

The Essence of Collective Success

During the interactive discussion moderated by Rob Veenman, Vossenaar emphasized the importance of collectivity for companies aiming to succeed on the global stage. He highlighted the Dutch government’s enthusiasm for supporting collaborative ventures such as Dutch Greenhouse Delta and market research conducted by Wageningen University & Research. He explains that these initiatives are vital for pinpointing international opportunities and strategizing entry into promising markets like Japan, the Gulf region, Kazakhstan, China, the USA, Brazil, Vietnam, and Morocco.

Vossenaar also pointed out developing markets like India, where DGD’s project HortiRoad2India have started making significant inroads. This underscores the importance of clustering in business strategies, a method supported by financial incentives through programs like Partners for International Business (PIBs) and combitracks.

Government’s role in horticulture

Vossenaar argued for a stronger business agenda in public policy to ensure the horticultural sector receives the necessary support and attention in terms of education, research, and subsidies. He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture could serve as a perfect governmental partner, not only in providing financial assistance but also by ensuring the sector’s needs are prominent on the political agenda.

He also discussed the government’s role in enhancing public visibility for horticultural initiatives and supporting innovation through international missions and collaborations. Vossenaar encouraged stakeholders to seek government support when needed, highlighting the ecosystem’s potential to drive significant societal improvements.

Expo 2025 Osaka

Looking ahead, Vossenaar discussed the upcoming Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, in Japan, a prime opportunity for showcasing Dutch horticultural solutions on a global stage. He offered practical advice for businesses participating in the expo, stressing the importance of building genuine connections and demonstrating patience and trust, rather than rushing into contractual agreements.

Conclusion: collaboration is key

As the Let’s Connect event concluded, Vossenaar’s message was clear: the Dutch horticultural sector is not only a leader in innovation but also a community ready to tackle global challenges through unity and collaboration.

His call to action for businesses to present themselves as clusters at international forums reflects a strategic approach to solving local problems through a united front, highlighting the sector’s readiness to transform public perception and embrace global opportunities.

Next edition of Let’s Connect

Let’s Connect during the next edition, hosted by World Horti Center on May 15th: “Hungry EcoCities: How AI can change our relationship with food” (in Dutch). Registrations (free!) are open.