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How did the Netherlands become the # 2 producer of food Worldwide?

Over the last 25 years, The Netherlands has been positioning this relatively tiny country to become a significant global agriculture and food producer through a combination of innovative agricultural practices, advanced technology adoption, efficient logistics, and a focus on high-value, effective and intensive agriculture.

A recent article in National Geographic, highlighted this remarkable achievement. In some greenhouses, yields produced on one acre is as much as 10 outdoor acres and reduce the need for chemicals by 97%.

Some key factors that have contributed to the Netherlands becoming one of the top food producers in the world:

  1. Agri-Tech and Intensive Research: The Netherlands has invested heavily in agricultural research and development, resulting in the adoption of cutting-edge technologies such as precision agriculture, vertical farming, hydroponics, and controlled greenhouse cultivation. These technologies enable year-round production, higher yields, and outstanding, efficient resource use.

  2. Greenhouse Cultivation: The Dutch have over the years, mastered greenhouse cultivation techniques, allowing them to produce crops in controlled environments that are not dependent on weather conditions. This extends the growing season all year round and optimizes and reduces resource utilization. The Netherlands is a global leader in tomato exports.

  3. High-Quality Seeds: Dutch seed companies are renowned and among the World leaders for developing high-quality, disease-resistant, and high-yielding plant varieties. These seeds contribute to increased agricultural productivity and better crop resilience. Some one third of global trade in vegetable seeds originates from the Netherlands.

  4. Efficient Water Management: Given its geography, the Netherlands has implemented advanced water management systems to prevent flooding and optimize water distribution. This expertise is beneficial for managing irrigation and ensuring optimal, reduced water usage in agriculture.

  5. Sustainable Practices: The Netherlands has been a leader in adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Integrated pest management, organic farming methods, and reduced chemical usage are some of the approaches that contribute to sustainable production. Tomato plants fertilized with fish waste flourish.

  6. Logistics and Infrastructure: The country's strategic location and well-developed transportation and logistics infrastructure enable efficient movement of goods within Europe and globally. This helps Dutch agricultural products reach international markets quickly.

  7. Research Institutions and Universities: The presence of world-class agricultural research institutions and universities has facilitated innovation, knowledge exchange, and the development of skilled professionals in agriculture and food sciences.

  8. Export-Oriented Approach: The Dutch agriculture sector has a strong focus on export, with a significant portion of its production being shipped to international markets. This export-oriented approach has driven the sector's growth and competitiveness. The Netherlands is also sharing it’s Agri-tech success with many countries of the world, including Kenya, Ghana, Bangladesh, Tanzania and more.

  9. Government Support: Key Government policies that promote research, innovation, sustainable agriculture, and export have played a significant role in the Netherlands' success as a food producer. Supportive policies encourage investment and growth in the agricultural sector.

  10. Agri-Food Clusters: The Netherlands has developed specialized agri-food clusters where businesses, research institutions, and government collaborate closely to drive innovation, knowledge sharing, and value chain development. This collaborative approach has accelerated the growth of the Dutch innovative output

  11. Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Dutch agricultural sector is characterized by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, with farmers and businesses constantly seeking new ways to improve productivity, efficiency, and product quality. Boardrooms and entrepreneurs have locked step to achieve remarkable results.

Growth is never without challenges, however, the Dutch approach to addressing these hurdles is by embracing innovation and sustainable practices which has made them a robust global leader in food production.

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Aug 28, 2023

Fantastic article.This shows that leaders in the Netherlands are really thinking out of the box. These are the of leaders every country should strife to have especially Africa. GEF is highly motivated to do more taking into account the companies modern approach to agriculture which should be fun not boring in other to entice the youth.


Aug 28, 2023

The Netherlands continues to explore food system innovation with constant sustainability practices. As tiny as the country landmark, it is considered the second leading producer and exporter of food products throughout the globe. Extensive Research and collaboration play key role in sustainability hence the country's ability to strive for high


Aug 27, 2023

Well composed article.... agriculture and technology is the future.

this is the main reason I commend the visionaries behind Global Eden Farms Project which will bring remarkable relief to the whole.

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