Holland Inspiration Seminar


Sustainable and profitable livestock farming


The Netherlands is a small country in Northwestern Europe and known as an agricultural powerhouse. To be precise the second largest in the world. However, being the second exporter is not our mission. The Dutch agricultural sector is increasingly aware of the steps that have to be taken to prepare agriculture for the twenty-first century. With an estimate of 9.8 billion people in 2050, food demand will rise quickly. The world’s traditional ways of practicing agriculture will not suffice anymore. Therefore, high-tech solutions for saving resources become increasingly important. Fortunately, in the Netherlands we are optimistic people. For over four centuries, we have tackled challenges related to the water, energy and food sectors. Innovative agricultural solutions emerged through a close cooperation between the government, private sector and research institutions. This approach is known as the ‘triple helix’. We have made dealing with the water, food and energy nexus as a part of our DNA.

For the Dutch, it is paramount food is accessible, affordable, nutritious, tasty, and produced responsibly. However, to progress into the future, it is time to rethink how we produce food and work with scarce resources. The Dutch find answers in sustainable agriculture. This strategy for sustainable agriculture focusses on minimizing raw material usage and wastage. This is the alternative to traditional mass production, at the lowest possible price, resulting in degradation of natural ecosystems. The Dutch believe that this path of sustainable agriculture can help in tackling global challenges, adopted in the Sustainable Development Goals, such as reducing hunger and improving food security.

Countries in the Arabian Peninsula, share the same concerns as the Dutch. The most important challenge of the twenty-first century will be to meet the interlinked water, energy and food demands in a peaceful and sustainable way. This is also the key for the UAE, where water scarcity, high energy consumption, and a food import dependency are prevalent. The corona pandemic has made many countries in the world feel the negative effects of trade disruptions for their food security. At the same time, climate change continued silently.

The Netherlands believes the time is now to make profound change and rethink how we produce food. The solution lies in finding integrated sustainable solutions involving water, food and energy. We aspire to share our technologies and knowledge with the world to contribute to global food security. For this reason, our theme for the Dutch participation in Expo2020 is: “Uniting water, energy and food”. This theme reflects the challenges that countries around the world face in the light of climate change. Challenges that we can solve together with smart innovations and if we work together.

Are you interested to learn more about the Dutch sustainable way? Do you want to learn more about how this food security policy fits in the strategy of multiple countries worldwide? Come and join the Holland inspiration seminar on November 24th during VIVMEA in Abu Dhabi.

Erik Smidt
Agricultural counsellor to the GCC

Erik Smidt
Agricultural counsellor to the GCC