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East Netherlands

29/01/2021

WEF – Global center food innovation comes to the (East) Netherlands


The (East) Netherlands will be the center for global food innovation with the Global Coordinating Secretariat (GCS). Prime Minister Rutte announced this during a digital meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The GCS is part of the WEF’s food system initiative to drive innovations and new technologies in the food chain that contribute to global food security. The GCS is directing from the Netherlands the further development of global regional food innovation hubs including the leading European hub Foodvalley NL.

Worldwide, nearly 2 billion people lack access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food and 690 million people suffer from chronic hunger or lack of proper nutrition. The expected growth of the world’s population and the impact of the climate crisis only adds to the urgency of this food insecurity. We therefore need to produce more food and also smarter food than ever before.

“The Dutch agrifood, horticulture and plant breeding sectors are world players when it comes to knowledge and techniques for the sustainable production and processing of food. That knowledge and innovation is already going global, think of Simon Groot’s company East-West Seed that provides millions of small farmers with good seeds. With Foodvalley NL as the European Food Hub in the WEF and the Global Coordinating Secretariat in the Netherlands, we can share that knowledge and expertise with the world even more.”

Minister Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

“The Dutch economy is one of the most innovative in the world. With the arrival of the Global Coordinating Secretariat, we can make even better use of our innovative power to contribute to food security in the world. With a strong combination of companies and knowledge institutions in agrifood, horticulture, breeding, high-tech and ICT, we have all factors in place to play a leading role and shape the necessary change in the food system.”

Minister Van ‘t Wout of Economic Affairs and Climate

“The East Netherlands is a frontrunner in innovations in the field of Food and Agro. For example, the European Food Innovation Hub of the World Economic Forum (WEF) will be located at Foodvalley NL. At the same time WEF has set up the Global Coordinating Secretariat for the Food Innovation Hubs worldwide and it has been decided to establish this in the Netherlands. It is with pride that Oost NL accepts the assignment from the province of Gelderland and province of Overijssel to help start this Global Coordinating Secretariat for Food Innovation Hubs. This way we can make even better use of the knowledge and experience of the Netherlands, and the East Netherlands in particular, to support international trade and innovation. All this to provide the growing world population with healthy and sustainably produced food.”

Wendy de Jong, general director of Oost NL

Food Innovation Hubs

Changing the way we produce and consume food requires globally scalable innovations that fit regional conditions. Regional Food hubs play a crucial role in this by bringing together farmers, businesses, scientists and (other) parties in the food chain to develop innovations and business and revenue models that contribute to a sustainable and future-proof food system. Hubs have been set up in Asia, Africa and Central and South America. Foodvalley NL has been appointed as the European Food Hub since November.

Global Coordinating Secretariat

The East Netherlands Development Agency Oost NL (commissioned by the province of Gelderland and province of Overijssel) supports the GCS financially and by contributing to a small core team. The GCS will help the regional hubs with scaling up, drive new regional hubs and work on global partnerships for innovation. In this way, together they will ensure that knowledge and innovation for a healthy and sustainable food system will be better distributed around the world.

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