Dutch agreements a win for Aussie horticulture

Some of Australasia’s leading horticultural organisations have signed historic Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with leading Dutch research institutions and agribusinesses in Sydney in an effort to increase collaboration among some of the world’s leading horticultural producers.

The ceremony was attended by Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at Cockatoo Island, off the coast of Sydney.

Horticulture Innovation Australia joined the University of Tasmania and Lincoln University in the signing of an MoU with the world-leading agricultural institution, the Wageningen University of the Netherlands. It marked the new partnership developed through the creation of the Masterclass in Horticultural Business.

Peak vegetable industry body AUSVEG also signed a separate MoU with prominent Dutch seed company Rijk Zwaan at the ceremony, which will see the Australian vegetable industry working more closely with one of the world’s leading producers of vegetable seed.

Ausveg Marketing Manager Nathan McIntyre and Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd

Horticulture Innovation Australia Chief Executive John Lloyd said the day was a significant step forward for Australian horticulture as it opened up future avenues for collaboration which will ultimately benefit the nation’s growers.

“Today’s signing of two historic Memoranda of Understanding with key Netherlands stakeholders is the result of a lot of hard work and effort by industry, and key educational institutions,” he said.

“Increasingly, Australian horticulture is attracting the eye of major industry players around the world, which is in no small par

t due to our reputation for delivering quality, clean produce, and our drive to continuously develop and innovate.”

AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer Simon Bolles said AUSVEG’s MoU with Rijk Zwaan is a really positive development for the Australian vegetable industry, with the agreement formalising a stronger relationship between the two countries and companies.

John Lloyd shaking hands with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

“Australia and the Netherlands have a strong relationship when it comes to horticultural production and information transfer, with local vegetable growers having benefited from world leaders in greenhouse technology,” Mr Bolles said.

The Masterclass in Horticultural Business is the first project of its kind in Australia. It combines the expertise of what is currently ranked the number one university in agriculture and forestry in the world, the Wageningen Academy of the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, with New Zealand’s specialist land-based Lincoln University, as well as the leading Australian horticulture university, the University of Tasmania.

Best described as a mini-MBA, the masterclass is available to growers and people working in the supply chain looking to take their business to the next level. Under this investment, up to 30 selected industry leaders each year will be exposed to a nine-month program of learning that focuses on global trends in agriculture and horticulture, international business, innovation, value chains and governance and risk.

The first enrollments open in late 2016 and begin in early 2017. This program is being delivered with co-investment from Horticulture Innovation Australia.

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