Meeuwes Brouwer has been a agricultural counselor in Russia for almost four years. Agriculture is developing rapidly in this vast country. The Russian agricultural ministry focuses on stimulating exports that rose to around € 25 billion in 2019.
"For a Dutch diplomat in Moscow you sometimes have to be very cautious," says Brouwer. “My challenge is to keep the dialogue on agricultural and horticultural issues going within the given relationships between Russia and the Netherlands. That is exciting and educational. In practice, it appears that we can cooperate reasonably well with the Russian authorities on agriculture, horticulture and food."
Given those developments, what are the opportunities for the Dutch agri-food sector?
“The investment plans in this country to build up the agricultural sector lead to a growing demand for animal and vegetable starting material and innovative technology, including agricultural tools, greenhouses and, for example, milking robots. Many Dutch companies have responded to this. At agricultural fairs I come across dozens of companies that are active in one of these sectors.
"When it comes to the growth of greenhouse horticulture in Russia, the Dutch business community plays a prominent role. This applies to more sectors. The reciprocal sanctions have resulted in losers, but also winners. The greenhouse builders and seed companies belong to the latter group."