Western Canada offers prospects for innovative Dutch agrofood companies. The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) is one of the largest food producing provinces in the country. Agrofood companies in British Columbia actively seek cooperation and knowledge exchange, and they are very interested in Dutch horticulture.

IRIS! Scout robot in a tomato greenhouse

Dutch technologies in horticulture contribute to the efficient and sustainable growth of the sector in BC.

Dutch immigrants
Cooperation between Canadian and Dutch companies in the horticultural sector is growing, but is not new. A large number of Dutch people came to western Canada in the middle of the 20th century. The second generation of Dutch immigrants are still making their mark on agricultural and horticultural developments in BC, especially in greenhouse horticulture.

The greenhouses are often still owned by Dutch people and the technology in the greenhouses mainly comes from the Netherlands. Relations with the Netherlands in this sector are excellent.

Example of international cooperation
A successful example of a recent collaboration is between Canadian Ecoation (Vancouver) and the Dutch companies Metazet (Wateringen) and Micothon (Mijdrecht).

This international partnership of high-tech companies in horticulture has brought a smart robot to the market - the IRIS! Scout robot – that is able to detect crop diseases at an early stage.

This allows growers to save on labor costs and plant protection products. The Canadian-Dutch cooperative robot won the prestigious GreenTech Innovation Concept Award during the Greentech 2018 in Amsterdam.

More cooperation through trade missions
Bilateral cooperation got a boost during the trade mission of Dutch high-tech companies to British Colombia earlier this year. In March, a delegation of Dutch companies visited the Vancouver region. The participants spoke with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture in British Columbia, the agricultural department of the University of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford and various high-tech companies in the sector.

Contacts were made with Canadian companies during various workshops and presentations and possibilities were explored for structural cooperation in the long run. At the beginning of October, a Canadian delegation visited the Netherlands for a return visit. The participants also paid a visit to the Innovation Expo in Rotterdam.

Canada in Eurostars
At the end of 2016, Canada became a member of the Eurostars program. Eurostars is a European subsidy program that supports international cooperation between R&D companies and knowledge institutions. In the summer of 2018, there was a special Agrofood Promotional Call from this program to give the cooperation between Canadian and Dutch partners an extra boost.

Source: Agroberichten Buitenland