The Hague, the Netherlands
June 17, 2011
The Horticulture & Propagation Materials sector's 'top team' ('Topteam Tuinbouw en Uitgangsmaterialen'), along with the eight other key sectors, submitted its advice today to Minister Verhagen of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. In 'The Source of a Green Economy' global solutions for global challenges', Horticulture & Propagation Material's top team present proposals on how the business community, knowledge institutes and government can contribute to the enhancement of this sector in terms of international entrepreneurship, knowledge development and research.
Horticulture & Plant Breeding/Propagation Materials is an extremely knowledge-intensive and innovative sector; it has a major impact on global society and the global economies. The Netherlands is the largest exporter of ornamental plants, seeds, flower bulbs and other breeding and propagation materials, and is the third largest exporter of edible horticultural crops. Many Dutch experts and businesses operate at the top of their respective fields – horticulturists, propagators, plant breeders, retail organizations, auctions, dealers, developers and a large variety of suppliers like greenhouse and climate system manufacturers. Wageningen University and Research Centre is number two in the world in agriculture and horticulture knowledge development. "The Dutch horticulture sector is ripe with innovation and international entrepreneurship, and is recognized worldwide as a trendsetter in the supply and
development of high-tech solutions," explains Timo Huges, chairman of the Horticulture & Propagation Materials Top Team. " Horticulture & Plant Breeding/Propagation Materials is probably the only Dutch sector that is an undisputed global market leader."
Huges continues. "The entire sector is concerned with the development of a highly ambitious vision through a clear and concrete action plan. The actions in the plan focus on seven themes." These are: 1) double added value growth; 2) global leader in international entrepreneurship; 3) international centre of excellence for knowledge, research and education; 4) sustainability; 5) optimized space and infrastructure for the entire value chain; 6) a strong reputation and internationally leading brand; and 7) a decisive and accountable sector association.
The sector itself plans to invest heavily. In addition to the current EUR 80-130 million, an extra EUR 115 million in investments is needed for the action plan to succeed. The action plan, in addition to ongoing programs, requires EUR 220 million from the government's budget for the key sectors. EUR 70 million of this is reserved for knowledge development, while the remaining EUR 150 million is a request made jointly with the Agro & Food key sector for internationalization activities.
The Horticulture & Propagation Materials sector is offering its knowledge, technology and entrepreneurship to the world as an answer to global challenges. Considerably higher value and higher quality foods will have to be produced in a sustainable way in the coming decades. The sector believes that it can contribute significantly to solving this global concern. The edible and ornamental horticultural industry does after all contribute to health and happiness.
The sector is strengthening its role as director of global trade by investing in standardization, ICT and the international networks of its production and trade companies. The prevention and rapid tracing of sources of disease or infestation is paramount, so supply chain control systems (quality, track & trace) are always state-of-the-art. The Horticulture & Propagation Materials sector has asked the government to support its leading role as exporter in the major markets through trade missions and agricultural attachés. The sector, along with the government and research centres, also aims to invest in the stimulation of business activity, entrepreneurship, chain approaches, and knowledge development and exchange in upcoming markets and developing countries.
Knowledge development and research
The Horticulture & Propagation Materials sector urges the government to maintain consistent policies and long-term financing of fundamental research, with a good balance between supply and problem control. It invites the government to join in investing in the continuation of successful public-private partnerships like top technological institute Green Genetics and the Centre for Biosystems Genomics (CBSG) and in the continued development of their experience by launching new (regional) public-private initiatives, aimed particularly at SMEs.
To realize its action plan, the sector will establish a decisive and accountable sector association. The organization Greenport Holland will play an important role in this association, alongside research institutes and the government.
The summary: ’The Source of a Green Economy’ is available for download at www.greenportholland.com (head: “Economische Topsectoren”)
The Horticulture Top Team was: Timo Huges, chairman (FloraHolland), JanWillem Breukink (INCOTEC Enkhuizen), Ernst van den Ende (Wageningen UR) and Hans Hoogeveen (Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation).