Qatar and Dutch firms seek ties in horticulture
27 Sep 2017 - 1:54
By Irfan Bukhari / The Peninsula
As Qatar is moving towards self-sufficiency in food, top Dutch and Qatari agro companies met yesterday to explore opportunities for extending bilateral cooperation in horticulture sector.
The Netherlands Embassy organised a business-to-business horticulture matchmaking event in which leading Dutch greenhouse companies presented their technology to their Qatari agro producer companies.
Seven leading greenhouse companies including Boom Group, Bosman Van Zaal, Certhon, Priva, Westland International Projects, Aldo van Os and VEK Global Greenhouse Projects shared their products and achievements with their Qatari counterparts.
Dutch companies visiting Doha have expertise in the field of agriculture in the Middle East and have high-tech solutions suitable for Qatar, where climatic conditions is a challenge for growing vegetables.
The Foreign Economic Relation Director of the Netherlands, Andre Driessen, said that the Netherlands could share its expertise and technology in horticulture sector with Qatar on government to government, business to business and knowledge to knowledge (research institutes) levels.
He said that to achieve targets of food security, institutionalised approach was needed. “Qatari agro companies can benefit from Dutch innovation and technology to increase local production of fruits and vegetables in a sustainable manner,” he added. Andre Driessen said that the Dutch-Qatari cooperation was already very strong and multi-faceted.
Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Qatar, said that the match-making event had been organized to increase bilateral horticulture cooperation. “Dutch horticulture sector is innovative, driven by market and science,” she said adding that the Netherlands had become world number two exporter of food.
“This happened due to joint efforts of government, private sector and knowledge institutions. The Netherlands can provide Qatar with high-tech, tailor-made solutions to increase its agro produce even under extreme climate conditions.”
Tahzib-Lie said that the event was an excellent opportunity to deepen bilateral relations, strengthen network and explore more opportunities for cooperation in agricultural sector. “The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of food after the United States, which has 270 times more land area than that of the Netherlands.”
The Dutch ambassador noted that around two decades ago, the Dutch government made an ambitious national commitment for sustainable agriculture growth under the slogan “double food with half resources”.
Visiting companies offered Qatari counterparts Dutch solutions and experiences for best quality crop production throughout the year using very little water.
Sharing some facts with the participants, the Dutch officials said that the total value of Dutch agricultural exports was € 82.4 billion in 2015.
Three out of the world’s top-25 food and beverage companies are from the Netherlands. The Food Valley region, centred at Wageningen University and Research Center, is one of the most authoritative agri-food and nutrition research centres in Europe.
Holland is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of food processing machinery. Dutch industry produces 80% of the world’s capacity of poultry processing machinery, and a substantial amount of cheese production machinery.
Dutch agricultural entrepreneurs use efficient and sustainable production systems and processes, resulting in a productivity that is five times higher than the European average.
In Holland, Dutch horticulture is concentrated in six clusters, called Greenports, where businesses and research institutes work closely together on production, R&D, logistics, infrastructure, and exports.
Dutch greenhouses cover an area of more than 60 km2, constituting a city of glass - and with a relatively low impact on the environment.
The focus is on concepts and technologies that facilitate energy-efficiency, sustainability, and adaptability to climate change.
The Dutch are the world’s largest exporter of seeds: the export of seeds amounted to 1.5 billion US Dollars, growing 5% each year.
Talking to The Peninsula, Dr. Hans Van der Beek, Agricultural Counsellor at the Embassy of the Netherlands said that using Dutch horticulture technology and innovation, Qatari agri-producers could boost their productions that will help country achieve self-sufficiency in food particularly vegetables.
Mohamed Ahmed Al-Obaidli, a Qatari businessman told The Peninsula that Dutch technology was very advance and could increase local agro-production.