A large delegation with representatives of Dutch producer organisations and trading companies went for a three-day visit to Spain. The aim of the mission was to exchange knowledge between the two main fresh produce countries in the EU. A central part of the visit was the ‘Hollanddag’ or 'Dutch Day' in Almeria that was organised by the Dutch Embassy in the presence of many Spanish and Dutch growers, growers organizations and sales parties.

The theme of the day was ‘Acting in tandem on the market’. Subjects covered were competitive challenges such as sustainability, increasing consumption and the common future agricultural policy. "We want to explore possible collaborations between the Netherlands and Spain, albeit permanently or temporarily. We are competitive in some countries, such as the German market, but on the British market we should collaborate more ,” declared the organisation.

Beside lectures given by representatives of the industry, there were also speeches by Matthijs van Bonzel, the Dutch ambassador and Aldrik Gierveld, deputy director of Agro en Natuur (Ministry of Economic Affairs) and his immediate Spanish colleague.

For account of the Dutch sector Richard Schouten, director of GroentenFruit Huis, gave an explanation on the activities and set-up of GroentenFruit Huis. He also discussed cutting edge topics and dossiers that are important to the Netherlands and Spain.

Next to the Hollanddag, the Dutch delegation visited several companies, among which a high tech production and associated packaging plant for fresh cut lettuce. They also visited several high tech organic growers of tomatoes and peppers. Also the cooperation Bio Sabor was visited where in a modern facility tomatoes and cucumbers were sorted and packed for the North-European market.

Spaniards and the Dutch

The Hollanddag is organized annually by the Agricultural Council of the Dutch embassy in Madrid. Originally the day was for Dutch growers in the region, to support them and hear their stories. Over the years more and more Spanish growers have taken part in the day and finally the program was adapted.