There are countless challenges ahead: population growth is continuing rapidly over the world, and the climate is under increasing pressure. The world is facing issues such as the loss of biodiversity and agricultural land that is slowly threatened to become degraded. According to the most recent estimate by the UN we may reach a world population of 9.7 billion by 2050 and food demand is expected to increase anywhere between 59% to 98%. How can we produce sufficient supplies of healthy and sustainable food more efficiently in the future, with the lowest possible environmental impact? How can we ensure healthier food and less waste, and how can we raise awareness of these issues among the business community and consumers?
To ensure sustainable food systems in the world of tomorrow, changes must come about today: a radically new way of thinking, and new patterns of production and consumption. Achieving this requires dialogue and pooling knowledge and skills in the entire food production chain. The keyword is co-creation.
The Chilean and Dutch agriculture have more similarities than you would imagine at first sight. Chili is a big producer of fruit, wine, cellulose, and salmon. The Netherlands are known for their vegetables, flowers, cheese and genetic material. Both countries have an agricultural sector that is very much export oriented.
The Netherlands have become a world leader in the field of agriculture. Thanks to a wealth of agricultural knowledge, fertile soils, intensive (precision) farming, and trading expertise, the Netherlands are able to provide high quality produce, added value food products and technology (€90 bln 2018). These are being exported worldwide. Farming, horticulture and fisheries as well as agribusiness and technology contribute significantly to the prosperity of the Netherlands. These sectors are constantly innovating, making them global leaders.
With the Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands are also a gateway to the European market. In 2019 the Netherlands were the 3rd biggest importers of Chilean agro-food products.
Besides the bilateral trade ties, plenty of Dutch agri related companies are active in Chile. Many of these offer innovative solutions to modernize the Chilean agricultural sector with sustainable technology, improved starting material or logistical and financial services.
Because of the existing ties and unlocked potential, agriculture is one of the focus areas of the economic department of the embassy of the Netherlands in Chile. We strive to strengthen the agricultural relations by:
Sustainable food systems is a priority of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. From animal welfare and food safety to state-of-the-art greenhouse technology and new breeds of plants. Government, knowledge institutes, farming and business are working together toward circular agriculture by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using residual flows and closing systems, and adapting production systems to climate change.
The Netherlands are a hotbed of agro-food research and development thanks to the excellent knowledge base at several universities, research institutes and industrial R&D centers. Wageningen University & Research, one of the world’s leading universities in the field of agro-food, has close ties with Chile. Some twelve out of the forty largest Food & Beverage companies worldwide have R&D facilities in the Netherlands. The sector has developed for example smart storage and packaging technologies that keep food fresh longer and are used widely in Chile.
The Dutch horticulture sector is one of the top sectors and a good example of how the Netherlands innovate with technology in the agricultural sector. Producing more with less natural resources is not only beneficial for the environment but also makes a good business case. About 40% of vegetable seeds come from the Netherlands, while Chile is an important production country for Dutch companies in this field. The Netherlands are also the largest exporter of fresh vegetables in the world and number three exporter of nutritional horticulture products. The Dutch horticulture sector has an extensive and well-developed logistics network. Vegetables harvested in the Netherlands can be sold in New York the very same day.
The international campaign Farming the Future highlights the Netherlands contribution to the global efforts in achieving food security and improved nutrition. The international campaign showcases the knowledge and expertise of the Dutch Agro-food and Horticultural sectors in promoting a sustainable food system and creating social and economic opportunities worldwide.