A single infopoint for entrepreneurs, joint research facilities and even more opportunities to share knowledge. Within a few months, companies will begin to notice the changes the new AgriFood 2030 program is bringing. “We will be making our regional collaboration even stronger,” says Roger van Hoesel, Managing Director at Foodvalley and one of the initiators. “This region can become the Silicon Valley of agriculture and food”.
KNOWLEDGE INTENSIVE ECOSYSTEM
Both inside and outside the Netherlands, Foodvalley has a reputation to maintain as the knowledge-intensive ecosystem for innovation in healthy and sustainable food. “In this region, companies work openly and fully together and the whole world comes here to make their new innovations real,” says Van Hoesel. “Yet we are still not getting everything possible out of this ecosystem.” For example, many initiatives are often financed for only a short period. “Halfway through the project, partners’ attention is diverted to thinking about new consortia. This costs a lot of time, energy and valuable knowledge.” In addition, it is often difficult for foreign companies to determine whether cooperation within the region has brought them added value and, if not, to whom they should turn. “From knowledge broker to researcher, from government to multinational, we all must share a clear and consistent story”, says Van Hoesel.
LONG TERM VISION AGRIFOOD 2030
AgriFood 2030 – developed by consulting firm McKinsey & Company at the request of FrieslandCampina, the Municipalities of Ede and of Wageningen, the Dutch Ministries of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and Economic Affairs and Climate, Regio FoodValley, the Agri & Food Topsector, Unilever, Wageningen University & Research and, in the coordinator role, the Province of Gelderland – must bring about change. “The program details the long-term vision and the concrete actions needed for integrated development and financing of projects”, Van Hoesel illustrates.
FROM PROTEIN TRANSITION TO CIRCULAR ECONOMY
AgriFood 2030 identifies six overarching elements: entrepreneurship, joint research and testing facilities, knowledge valorisation, international acquisition/attraction of the best talent, and the business climate. In addition, there is a substantive focus on four global themes: protein transition, healthy food, circular agriculture and the application of modern technology to these themes. “The program contains specific objectives; for example that the consumption of animal protein in the Netherlands must be reduced by 35% and total protein consumption by 5%. This means we have to move towards a food consumption pattern of 60% vegetable protein and 40% animal protein.”
EXTRA ADDED VALUE
AgriFood 2030 might be based on a long-term vision, but companies should already be noticing changes within a few months, Van Hoesel emphasizes. “A program will start in October, in which companies with a minimum annual turnover of €1 million will receive guidance for further growth.” Together, knowledge partners will be organizing theme meetings around the global themes, and companies can go to the new website foodvalley.nl – Foodvalley has been called the spider in the web – with questions about what the ecosystem can offer them.
From the end of 2019, companies can also turn to Foodvalley for information about the range of shared research and testing facilities. “Our members will, therefore, get even more out of their membership”, says Van Hoesel. “And, even more, we are working together to create the world’s first Silicon Valley for agriculture and food.”
– AgriFood 2030 Program. Download Report (In Dutch)