What’s there to learn for Chinese farmer leaders from the Dutch Agri-food sector?

Last month, iCRA had the privilege of hosting a delegation of government officials and farmer leaders from Jilin Province, China. Together with the Division of Science, Technology and Education (DSTE) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Jilin Province, iCRA facilitated a study tour through the Dutch agri-food sector. DSTE selected 16 farmer leaders to join this study tour with the aim to get inspiration and learn from innovative examples of farm management, environment-friendly technologies, marketing and food safety. 

Led by Xue Yun (Vice Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of Jilin Province), Hou Xiaohua (Director of DSTE), Jon Daane (former iCRA director, visiting professor at Jilin Agricultural University) and Lu Min (iCRA alumna and Professor at Jilin Agricultural University), the Chinese delegation visited 12 Dutch organizations and farms. The horticulture sector was selected as focus sector for the study program. 


iCRA looks back at a great knowledge exchange and is assured that the many fruitful discussions initiated during this week in the Netherlands will be continued in Jilin province.

With visits to KoppertBejoTomato World, leek grower ‘Hay Duif’, Van den Borne AardappelenZON Fruits & Vegetables, and beej Benders, the delegation developed insights into different stages of the horticulture value chain, from production and sales of agricultural inputs, through production, to marketing, (whole)sale, distribution and retail of fruits and vegetables. In addition, complementary visits to EemlandhoeveHoeve t’Witte SchaapZLTOUnifarm, and Van Hall Larenstein were organized to facilitate learning about the history of Dutch agricultural development and to enable the delegation to put learnings into a wider perspective of research and development.

At the end of the week the Chinese farmer leaders concluded the following as key learnings and takeouts from their study visit through the Dutch Agri-food sector:
1) The detailed planning and management of production
2) The heavy emphasis and strict standards regarding food safety 
3) The long-term thinking and vision of Dutch agri-food enterprises
4) The importance that all organizations attached to environment-friendly production (agricultural waste recycling, precision agriculture, soilless cultivation)  
5) How greening and restoring agri ‘culture’ can be part of promoting agritourism

iCRA looks back at a great study tour and exhange of knowledge. We are sure the many fruitful discussions initiated during this week in the Netherlands will be continued in Jilin province.