Plant protein collaboration between the Netherlands and Canada
The Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver and the Agricultural Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Washington organized a successful seminar about Plant Proteins in Vancouver.
The goal of the seminar was to build and strengthen relationships in the field of Plant Protein and related topics, with an aim towards long term international collaboration between Western Canada and the Netherlands. This long term collaboration will focus on research & development (R&D), commercialization and (business) agreements between Dutch and Western Canadian companies and knowledge institutes within the field of Plant Proteins.
High level representatives
The presence of high level representatives from the Canadian and the Dutch governments, and universities and research institutes during this seminar is regarded as an important first step. The Canadian provinces of Alberta and Manitoba were represented at the Assistant Deputy Minister level, while Saskatchewan’s Director of International Engagement participated, as did representatives of the Protein Industries Supercluster.
The Netherlands was represented by Guido Landheer, Assistant Vice Minister for Agriculture at the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality. Officials from the embassies of the Netherlands in Ottawa and Washington, as well as the Consulate-General in Vancouver, and the Honorary Consul in Edmonton were also present. Also from the Netherlands were representatives from Bridge2Food, NIZO Research Institute, and Wageningen University & Research (WUR).
During the seminar, the Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences of WUR signed an agreement with an innovative Canadian natural ingredient manufacturing company, Botaneco, regarding collaboration on extracting and valorizing oil bodies from oil-bearing legumes. This partnership between WUR and Botaneco is a first of, hopefully, many more Dutch-Canadian collaborations in Plant Proteins. At the end of the seminar, the participants spoke about the next steps to set up the Dutch-Canadian Plant Protein Collaboration Roadmap.
Complementary areas of knowledge
The Netherlands and Canada can learn from each other as their areas of knowledge are complementary. Canada has expertise in the production and processing of high quality proteins in large volumes, and has a leading pulse industry. The Netherlands has expertise in breeding high quality proteins, product development, commercialization and access to international markets, as well as leadership in food processing know how.
During the seminar, participants indicated the following factors as strong foundations for common ground, which can be further built upon: similar culture with shared norms and values, and a similar business mindset with a focus on advancing the collective sector as a whole, as opposed to individual companies. Furthermore, the shared history between the Netherlands and Canada establishes a warm, stable, economic and political foundation, and a high degree of alignment between government and research in both countries.
The partners from the Netherlands and Canada look forward to working together in the run-up to the Plant Protein Summit in Toronto later in 2020, organized by Bridge2Food.