‘We are still neighbours, despite the sea and Brexit, we want to do business with you,’ is the strong message coming from Oost NL (regional development agency East Netherlands and the province of Drenthe) in the Netherlands.
A delegation of Dutch agri-food businesses are participating in the Tech Hub of Agri-TechE’s Virtual REAP conference. Remco Lucassen, Director of Trade Development at Oost NL, and Michiel van Deursen, Projects Director of the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC, the “delivery partner” of this initiative), both say there is a strong appetite among farmers and agri-tech companies and researchers from both Wageningen University & Research and Technical University Twente and ‘Foodvalley’ region of East Netherlands to build links that transcend the political discussions.
Remco (Oost NL) says: “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.”
Oost NL, NBCC and the companies participating in this trade mission will present themselves in a kick-off meeting scheduled for 9 November following which the Tech Hub offers organisations an opportunity to have a virtual booth and for delegates to the conference to set up one-on-one meetings with each other and the exhibitors on 10 November.
Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE, and her team will be facilitating these meetings based on their knowledge of the industry, supported by an AI matching service.
Belinda says historically there are strong links between the Netherlands and the UK and the online conference potentially makes it easier for individuals to make connections. “Oost Netherlands is home to many innovative agrifood companies, offering mutually beneficial opportunities.
“By building links with centres of Agri-tech innovation worldwide we are creating mutually beneficial relationships. 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.”
Companies coming to REAP from the Netherlands include:
- Agriprogress, which offers support for sales channel development through its existing networks in the EU and Eastern Europe.
- AgriWatch offering geospatial services for Smart Farming
- Amstel Agro, developing novel fertilisers based on soluble silicon
- Huizing Harvest a company offering technical outsourcing in the agricultural industry and
- Kubota who are looking for investment opportunities and identifying agricultural challenges which require innovations.
Also Oost NL and NBCC will be joining the companies at REAP and will be available on the day to speak to UK organisations/companies who are looking for information/support concerning the market in the Netherlands or further afield.