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Jiashan Sino-Dutch Horticulture Innovation Center opened during the horticultural trade mission to China

From November 26th to 30th, Mr. Marcel van Raaij, Acting Director European, International and Agro-economic Policy at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of The Netherlands, led a Horticulture Trade Mission to China. A total of 19 Dutch companies and institutes participated in the delegation, which covered the whole industrial chain "from seed to table”. The delegation has effectively promoted the close cooperation of government, researchers and enterprises between China and the Netherlands, by carrying out fruitful business activities, such as agricultural forums, business matchmaking meetings, field visits and sectoral seminars.

The trade mission delegation in Beijing at the Ambassador's residence
The Netherlands has a high reputation in the field of greenhouse horticulture, with world-leading technology and rich practical experience, and the Dutch greenhouse technology has provided advanced solutions for the world. Frequent climate extremes, limited natural resources, a shrinking labor force, and food safety are common global challenges, the Netherlands has long been committed to addressing these challenges and proposing innovative solutions. The Dutch government, as well as private companies and research institutions, work closely together in a triple helix to develop innovative and efficient horticulture solutions, address food safety issues, improve resource efficiency, reduce negative impacts on the environment, and achieve long-term sustainability.

China has a large population. China's mega-cities, which already have populations of more than 10 million, have a strong demand for fresh, high-quality, safe and affordable food, and greenhouse horticulture can be a way to provide these. The Netherlands is willing to work with China to innovate technologies on greenhouse horticulture, improve efficiency of using resources, and increase production per unit area, to serve the fresh fruits and vegetables to the mega-cities.

On November 26. Mr. André Haspels, Ambassador of the Netherlands to China, welcomed the delegation members at his residence, together with his diplomatic colleagues, and introduced China’s policies of commerce, investment and market developments to start off the horticultural trade mission.

During the next four days of the trip, the Agricultural Department of the Embassy of the Netherlands to China (LAN China) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) worked with multiple cooperative agencies and partners to hold a series of business promotion activities, with support from government of Zuid Holland Province, Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu Province and Jiaxing of Zhejiang Province, as well as local academy of agricultural sciences, sectoral associations and commercial entities.

Sino-Dutch Agricultural Forum Successfully Held in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing

During the mission program, seminars were held in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing with characteristic topics and focuses. On the morning of 27 November, “Sino-Dutch Agriculture Conference – Farming the Future” in Beijing Dutch representatives shared the current situation and trends in greenhouse horticulture and pointed to the secrets of success in the Dutch greenhouse horticulture with its world competitiveness. Chinese experts and enterprises presented their interpretation of China’s National Plan for Modern Protected Agriculture Development, whilst giving an overview of the greenhouse sectoral development on a national scope and in the Beijing region. After analysis and summary of technologic practices in smart horticulture, the challenges of modern facility agriculture and operations were drawn up, with a high lightened future for the utilization of non-cultivated land for greenhouses.

Before the conference, Mr. Marcel van Raaij had a courtesy meeting with Mr. Zhang Shigong, Deputy Director General, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, to strengthen the cooperation with Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in the following fields : greenhouse horticulture, seed, plant breeder’s right, future food and feeding the Mega-cities.

In Shanghai, the "Sustainable Development of Modern Facility Agriculture in Mega-Cities" seminar focused on the opportunities and challenges in the supply chain of horticultural products to mega-cities. To stabilize food supply, diversify choices, improve yields, and sustainable development are the core driven needs of sectoral and market elevations. Presentations from Dutch and Chinese guests covered the aspects of Government-Research-Enterprise collaboration, supply chain, history of horticultural development in the region, gains of technology practices, artificial intelligence, and logistics. A Chinese speaker interpreted the masterplan of a hotspot for facility agricultural in Yangtze delta, which shows a strong foundation of further Netherlands-China cooperation.

After the delegation arrived in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, the Sino-Dutch Horticulture Exchange Meeting was held. Representatives of the trade mission brought their experiences, technologies and sectoral prospects, including artificial intelligence, biological control, variety innovation, talent pool, smart greenhouse, logistics system, and collaboration platforms, to Chinese counterparts. The companies who are located in the Nanjing Agriculture Innovation Center shared their results and products of big data, Internet of Things, and smart solutions in agricultural technologies.

The Netherlands is a typical high-tech country with rich experiences in greenhouse technology, horticultural automation, variety innovation, equipment integration, and supply chain system. Both sides will strengthen cooperation and join hands to face the challenges and grab the opportunities for the future development of the horticultural industry, to achieve a win-win situation.

Match-making Meetings Promoted Direct Communication among Enterprises
On the afternoon of 27th and 28th, the delegation had match-making sessions with local enterprises in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. Through face-to-face meetings, the two sides were able to have an in-depth understanding of each other's business requirements, which will help further business opportunities in the future, and promote the cooperation between China and the Netherlands to advance pragmatically.

On-site signings, Pragmatic Cooperation

Three on-site signing ceremonies were facilitated in Beijing and Shanghai under the witness of Mr. André Haspel and Mr. Marcel van Raaij.

Wageningen University and Research together with Beijing Jingwa Center will increase cooperation in many sides, such as joint trainings.

The signing of the Netherlands Greenhouse Delta and China Intelligent Energy Industry Alliance will bring their cooperation to a new stage, around the "comprehensive intelligent energy + modern greenhouse horticulture", to carry out platform building, fund establishment, project landing and to promote the Sino-Dutch modern greenhouse horticulture in a clean, Green, low-carbon way.

In Shanghai, Ridder Group also signed a MOU with CEEC Geothermal Co., Ltd. to strengthen the exploration and cooperation in the application of new types of clean energy in greenhouse horticulture.

Opening Ceremony of Jiashan Sino-Dutch Horticulture Innovation Center
In the witness of Mr. Marcel van Raaij and the delegation, the grand opening ceremony of Jiashan Sino-Dutch Horticulture Innovation Center was held. This collaborated project functioned with many Dutch technologies achieved 3 bests in Asia: it is the largest monomer greenhouse of leafy vegetable cultivation in Asia, it is also the largest close and vertical plant factory with smart solutions in Asia and it's the first high-tech greenhouse using big data of vertical farming to help effectively and efficiently growing.

Field visits in various places
From 29th to 30th, the delegation also went to Shanghai Xinghui Vegetable Production Base, consisting of 200ha of multi-span greenhouses, the Modern Agricultural Park of Changzhou Xinbei District in Jiangsu Province, and the Nanjing Qiaofeng Agricultural Development Co., Ltd. to learn more about the development of local horticulture. Later, the delegation visited the Achievement Exhibition Hall of Nanjing Agriculture Innovation Center.

During his visit to China, Mr. Marcel van Raaij also visited the Royal Friesland Experience Center and the Asia-Pacific headquarters of Signify and exchanged views with Dutch companies such as AgriFirm, Nedap and Topigs Norsvin in order to understand the current status of the development of the dairy processing and trade, the application of R&D in agricultural sciences and technology, and the development of the animal husbandry industrial chain outside the horticultural sector.

Friendly Exchange with Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences
The official delegation visited Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS) and were warmly welcomed by Mr. Chen Xin, Vice President of JAAS. The delegation was introduced to JAAS, visited the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition, the Crop Germplasm Resource Platform and the greenhouses for scientific research. Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences has maintained a long-term friendly cooperation with Wageningen University and Research and as a number of students have been to the Netherlands for study and exchange programs.

Sino-Dutch Greenhouse Horticulture and Artificial Intelligence Workshop
Wageningen University and Research hosted the Sino-Dutch Greenhouse Horticulture and Artificial Intelligence workshop on the afternoon of 30th, where Dr. Feije de Zwart and Dr. Pinglin Zhang shared their team's new advances in AI in the greenhouse horticulture, with the hot topics of unmanned greenhouses and machine learning. 4 representatives from Dutch and Chinese companies and universities were invited onto the stage for a panel discussion and analyzed the prospects of AI in greenhouses by distinctive views.
More than 30 members of the Dutch Horticulture Trade Delegation had a fruitful week in China. Delegates applauded for the intensive and efficient trade mission, which helped them build-up partnerships and look forward to more connections and communications in the future.


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