Dutch agri-food sector launches virtual trade mission to East Anglia

Remco Lucassen, international project manager at OostNL, the East Netherlands Development Agency. Pi

Remco Lucassen, international project manager at OostNL, the East Netherlands Development Agency. Picture: Eric Brinkhorst - Credit: Eric Brinkhorst

A delegation of Dutch agri-food businesses hopes to forge closer links with East Anglia’s farming community after joining the region’s agri-tech innovation network.

Oost NL, the East Netherlands Development Agency, has become a member of Agri-TechE (formerly Agri-Tech East) and is bringing representatives to its virtual REAP Conference, the flagship online event for Agri-Tech Week 2020, taking place today.

Remco Lucassen, trade development director at Oost NL, said there “is much to be gained for both regions” through cooperation.

“East Anglia, in particular, is a region with a long agricultural history and very strong agro sector and we can bring expertise from, for example, Wageningen University and the agri-tech ecosystem from our region and connect the members of Agri-TechE to our region,” he said.

Mr Lucassen added that there is a strong appetite among farmers, agri-tech companies and researchers from both Wageningen University and the “Foodvalley” region of East Netherlands to build links that transcend the ongoing political discussions surrounding Brexit.

“Businesses want to work with companies in the UK and we see participation in REAP as a good platform for this. With so much uncertainty at the current time it is even more important to build up personal links and trust for future cooperation,” he said.

READ MORE: Agri-Tech Week 2020: Building farming innovations from the ground upOost NL, along with the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and the companies participating in this trade mission, are expected to join the Tech Hub at today’s REAP conference.

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The Dutch companies include Agriprogress, which offers support for sales channel development through its existing networks in Europe; AgriWatch and GeoInfoSolutions, which offer geospatial services for smart farming; Amstel Agro, which is developing novel fertilisers based on soluble silicon; and Huizing Harvest, a company offering technical outsourcing in the agricultural industry.

Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE, said there were historically strong links between the Netherlands and the UK and the online conference potentially makes it easier for individuals to make connections.

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“Oost Netherlands is home to many innovative agrifood companies, offering mutually beneficial opportunities,” she said.

“For early stage technology companies overseas expansion can be time-consuming and risky. By creating an environment where insiders introduce them to the ecosystem reduces these barriers. Our farmer members can also benefit from sharing best-practice and export opportunities.”

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