"We have to position the Netherlands much more as an agri-food innovator"

Roger van Hoesel, director of Foodvalley NL, fully admits that he himself still uses it regularly; the positioning of the Netherlands as the world's second largest exporter of agrifood products. “It sounds good and is always a nice entry to an international audience. But unfortunately it doesn't mean that much. It says nothing about the quality. If we really want to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world, we have to focus on our capacity for innovation. Being the second largest is not interesting. That is because it often concerns bulk products, or products that are first imported in part and then exported again. To maintain that leading position, you would have to export more and more, something that is hardly possible for our country, where production is already very intensive. ”

“Where there is room for growth is in the field of innovations and the export thereof. That is something that we at Foodvalley NL are very committed to. "

Foodvalley is the primary knowledge-intensive agri-food ecosystem in the Netherlands. Foodvalley NL is the organization that builds consortia to jointly realize innovative solutions. Solutions that come about thanks to intensive cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions, education and governments.

Innovative power
"That innovative power is also recognized by other countries, but that can be even better," Van Hoesel continues. “This is not just about Wageningen University & Research (WUR). The knowledge and expertise that is there is highly appreciated worldwide, but that we have much more to offer around it sometimes gets snowed under. "

“If foreign visitors come to the Netherlands then you would like to offer them a consistent story, now it is true that they get a WUR story at WUR, and other stories from Unilever and FrieslandCampina. We at Foodvalley NL are trying to build a bridge. Combining forces and ensuring a clear story that does not have a specific company color. And that seems to be catching on, witness the growing numbers of visitors we receive and international visits we make. ”

“From an international perspective, Foodvalley is actually synonymous with the Netherlands. For foreigners, the Netherlands is often already a very small and compact area. We therefore do not limit ourselves to collaborations and innovations in the Foodvalley region, something that is sometimes thought of. It is of course true that the Foodvalley region has an unrivaled concentration of agri-food companies, and of course the WUR in Wageningen. So an important part of our initiatives and promotion of innovation take place in this region. "

"We look forward to the World Food Center Experience"
“The arrival of the World Food Center Experience is something we look forward to. Precisely to tell the broad and not business-dependent story, it is great to have a neutral place in a knowledge-intensive environment where you can easily receive people, quickly and properly give a picture of our innovative power without having it directly linked to companies or institutions. is. That way we can optimally fulfill our bridging function and our networking function. "

AgriFood 2030
Foodvalley NL has been the recognized point of contact for fifteen years now when it comes to accelerating (product) innovations, developing agri-food solutions and promoting the Dutch agri-food sector. “That is why we have also been asked to help fill in the AgriFood 2030 program. AgriFood 2030 is a joint initiative of FrieslandCampina, Municipality of Ede, Municipality of Wageningen, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality, Foodvalley Region, Top Sector Agri & Food, Unilever, Wageningen University & Research and the province of Gelderland. "

The AgriFood 2030 program aims to maintain and further strengthen the strong position of this region, as the global Agri & Food center for knowledge and innovation. To achieve this goal, a long-term, integrated development and financing program is being developed, in which Foodvalley NL plays a central coordinating role.

“In 2030, Foodvalley must be the global knowledge and innovation heart of healthy, safe and sustainably produced food. Foodvalley is already a global hub for knowledge and innovation in food and agriculture, including in the field of sustainability and climate change. Knowledge and innovation, the power of Foodvalley, will become the key to success in food and agriculture in the coming decades. Within 10 years we want to triple the number of R&D companies in the region. "

By focusing on Foodvalley as a global hub for knowledge and innovation, Gelderland is strengthening the business climate in the region, making the region more attractive for organizations and talent. The government, companies, knowledge institutions, municipalities and the province of Gelderland are working together to make Foodvalley a success.

“We already have a lively ecosystem in the region with many active and involved parties. But if we want to achieve the set goals on new themes, improved collaboration is needed. Otherwise we miss a great opportunity as a region and as the Netherlands. That means that we have to work together in a different way within the ecosystem. More focus, more mutual coordination. Clearer message, therefore, and focus. "