Jami VOF is an example of how Dutch agricultural entrepreneurs use innovative and sustainable techniques to grow produce. The company, located in Bergschenhoek, specializes in growing tomatoes in greenhouses. It partnered with Philips to use LEDs to improve production by making it possible to grow produce almost year-round in a sustainable and energy-efficient manner. Photo and copyright: Luca Locatelli.

Through agricultural innovations, the Netherlands has grown into the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural goods, behind only the United States. A Dutch delegation of agricultural businesses and universities will travel to California March 25-29 to explore business opportunities and partnerships with California’s AgTech sector.

The trade delegation travels from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with visits to San Luis Obispo and the Salinas Valley Agtech Summit along the way.

The mission is aimed at strengthening the Dutch-Californian AgTech partnership, with a focus on climate change, vertical farming, and food security. The Dutch and California governments already have a partnership on AgTech and innovation.

The goal of this visit is to develop ideas for a multiyear Dutch AgTech presence in California, a physical or virtual center of excellence and innovation, for instance.

Indoor farming

“California and the Netherlands are known for their top-notch AgTech,” said Gerbert Kunst, Consul General of the Netherlands in San Francisco. “Think of vertical farming, indoor farming without sunlight, and high-tech greenhouses that produce energy. This mission will explore future cooperation to find solutions for global challenges like climate change and food insecurity. Knowledge exchange is the key to together solving these problems and promoting even more sustainable and efficient agriculture.”

AgTech, or “agricultural technology,” is an innovative sector that uses technology to revolutionize agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture. California is an agricultural powerhouse, with more than 400 crop types grown across the state.

The Netherlands, which is 10 times smaller than California, found innovative solutions to grow high-value crops, such as tomatoes, more efficiently. Such efforts dramatically reduced the water needed to grow one pound of tomatoes, from 15 gallons to just one gallon. Innovation and research has earned the Netherlands the nickname “Silicon Valley of agriculture.”

Urban farming

The Dutch delegation will travel from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area, meeting with LA Cleantech Incubator, Urban Vegetable Grower, California Poly Technic State University in San Luis Obispo, and the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas.

Several field visits to Central Valley farmers are also planned. From March 27-28, the Dutch innovators will attend the Salinas Valley AgTech Summit to learn more about the latest trends and developments in California’s AgTech sector.

California’s AgTech sector is supported by the presence of innovation capital Silicon Valley, with smart irrigation and plant data analysis being a couple of examples of the latest AgTech innovations from California.

The Netherlands is an expert on water management, indoor farming and efficiency. Examples of the latest Dutch innovations include intelligent greenhouses with greater energy efficiency, smart ways to monitor crop quality, and techniques that give seeds more germinating power.

Learn more about the mission.