This interview details Dutch Greenhouse Delta, a foundation that represents the strength of the Dutch horticulture sector and promotes the sector internationally. The interview is with Mirjam Boekestijn, General Manager of Dutch Greenhouse Delta.
What is the origin story of Dutch Greenhouse Delta?
Worldwide, there is an increasing demand for self-sufficiency in the production of high-quality, safe, healthy, fresh and affordable food. How can we increase the food supply to feed the growing world's population and lower the negative impact on our planet? And how can we support making food production climate-proof?
On a Wednesday morning in 2017, Hein van der Sande, CEO of Certhon at the time took a spin class with Sjaak van der Tak, Mayor of Westland at the time, and Wouter Kuiper, CEO of KUBO. As they worked up some sweat, they discussed these global challenges and the role the Dutch greenhouse sector should play in this. “We agreed that the Dutch Horticulture industry is too modest when it comes to our performance, expertise and our heritage, and not enough is done to show the world about what we can offer” recalls Van der Sande. “Afterwards, over coffee and sandwiches, we decided we should do something about it.”
Soon thereafter Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD) was born, Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD) is a powerful international platform representing the strength of the Dutch Horticulture sector, and promoting the sector worldwide in order to identify and accelerate opportunities. It’s a foundation under which various partners join forces and enable common growth. In doing so, we ensure that growth for the sector and its individual companies go hand in hand with providing solutions to an ever-increasing need to produce safe, healthy, fresh and affordable food sustainably and locally. We offer the entire horticultural eco-system from Fork2Farm, consisting of science, enterprise, education, and government, in several focus regions, such as China, India and the Gulf region.
In addition to the potential economic growth and impact that we generate as a horticulture cluster, collaborating together is important to maintain our sector's leading position. The world of food, biodiversity, and the environment has changed, as well as technology, legislation, and consumer awareness, resulting in a shift in the market. Other players are entering the market without being hindered by outdated thinking or a lack of capital. If we want to preserve our most distinctive piece of knowledge, economy, and employment in the Netherlands, we must become global partners and stakeholders in that transformation.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing Dutch Greenhouse Delta in the future?
Dutch Greenhouse Delta aims to contribute to the provision of sufficient healthy, affordable, nutritious, and safe food in terms of fruits & vegetables that are produced sustainably and locally. We want to contribute to the well-being and lifestyle of today and future generations by greening the living environment. In doing so, we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), a call to action for the global challenges we are facing, for DGD specifically:
What is unique about Dutch Greenhouse Delta compared to competitors?
To solve these global challenges we need to cooperate. By working together with Dutch state-of-the-art partners in horticulture, DGD brings an integrated Fork2Farm solution that offers a complete ecosystem consisting of science, enterprise, education, and the government. Thanks to our unique 'ecosystem' of growers, suppliers, greenhouse builders, installers, seed breeders, research institutes, and universities, we can provide all knowledge and integrated product solutions necessary, to increase the production of fresh and safe food that is produced sustainably and locally.
How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
Dutch Greenhouse Delta is taking the first step, namely the promotion of the Dutch Horticulture eco-system globally in order to find and open doors, we are involved in the pré-business development. The next step is to our partner companies. This means that impact in terms of quantitative numbers is difficult, and we are relying on qualitative statements by governments, investors, growers and retailers internationally.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined the company?
Born in the Westland, the heart of Dutch or even international horticulture, and grew up in the greenhouse of the family, makes that horticulture is in my roots. However, this wonderful sector full of innovation is hidden behind the glass of the greenhouses. Innovative Dutch technology is the result of years of research, collaboration and pioneering. Dutch solutions made it possible to produce enough, safe, fresh, sustainable and affordable food anywhere in the world; in metropoles, in extreme heat, drought or cold. My passion is to share this story globally together with our partners within Dutch Greenhouse Delta.
How can people connect with you or learn more about Dutch Greenhouse Delta?
Do you want to stay informed about the new grounds DGD is breaking together with its partners? Visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn for a complete overview of incoming and outgoing trade missions, international collaborations, successful cases, and more information about Dutch solutions for enough, safe, fresh, sustainable and affordable food production.
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