Mexicultura present at Expo Agroalimentaria

Mexico eager for horticultural knowledge and techniques

Mexico has a well known potential for greenhouse horticulture. A lot of the greenhouse produce in Mexico is grown with the help of Dutch techniques. To help Dutch supplying companies set up a stable trade position with the Mexican locals, the Dutch agricultural counselor for Cuba and Mexico, Gabriella Nuijtens, is connecting the right dots. "Unlike many people might think, this is not a hit and run strategy", Nuijtens points out. "I am not helping companies to sell greenhouses, but I am looking to exchange knowledge. Dutch knowledge is very desired over here."

One of the projects Nuijtens has been involved with is Mexicultura, a program that unites Dutch horticultural suppliers, government and learning institutions who aim to develop sustainable production systems in close cooperation with local Mexican partners. All partners in MexiCultura compliment one another in the areas of technology, know-how and experience. One outcome of the program was a visit last month to Dutch greenhouse companies by Mexican growers and other horticultural entrepreneurs. The group visited growers, horticultural area Agriport A7, learning institutions, training centers and breeders. During these visits, a lot of attention was given to knowledge exchange and matchmaking.

At the upcoming Expo AgroAlimentaria in Irapuato, Mexicultura will also be present with a pavilion and seminar on Thursday 14 November.

Next to her work with MexiCultura, Nuijtens is also working on many other projects. One of these is developing and restructuring agriculture in Mexican states. The realization of these metropolitan food clusters (Agroparks), is part of the Alterra project in conjunction with Wageningen University & Research. Nuijtens is not only helping to set up the clusters, but is also supporting the companies at the agroparks by marketing their produce to new markets. Nuijtens: "A lot of the producers aim to export to the United States, which of course is good, but they also need to break open new markets. We are looking to set up new transatlantic partnerships together with the Mexican government."

Nuijtens points out the set-up of a new trade line between Mexico and Fresh Park Venlo in The Netherlands as a good example. "Mexican growers have tried to export their produce several times in the past, but this did not always go well", said Nuijtens. "There have been experimental shipments of a few containers to Europe in the past, but a lot of problems have occurred. In order to improve this, we organized a mission two years ago. A delegation of Dutch importers and cold chain experts visited Mexican exporters and started to work on a solution and form a stable partnership, together with the help of local authorities. Now, two years later, we have shipped the first containers of Mexican avocados to Venlo. The Dutch green port serves as an excellent doorway for the Mexican growers to enter new markets like Russia. This is a good example of how we have connected the right dots."

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