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Interview: Guido Landheer & Hon. Lana Popham on collaboration in agriculture between the Netherlands & British Columbia

Agriculture is the largest sector in Canada with a strong focus on horticulture. To get an impression of Dutch agricultural innovations in British Columbia, the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Vancouver and the Agricultural Team of the Dutch Embassy spoke with several entrepreneurs.

In this 10-part blog series we will be highlighting one advanced innovative agtech company in B.C. every week, focussing on its strong connections to the Netherlands. To conclude the series, we'll end with a short interview with the ministries in the Netherlands and B.C.

Part 10 (10/10): Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality

Dutch efforts to achieve a circular form of farming are on the forefront of a global shift towards sustainable agriculture. Guido Landheer is the Assistant Vice Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands and he believes that his country’s innovative and collaborative endeavours can lead the way toward global solutions for food security: “We are a small country that relies on our strengths in farming and innovation. The joint efforts of Dutch farmers, universities and the government are bearing fruit when it comes to issues like greenhouse gas emissions and supply chains.”

Guido Landheer
©Guido Landheer

Leaders in agtech innovation

Much like the Netherlands, British Columbia has the ambition to become a global leader in Agtech innovation, an aspiration that was accelerated when the Premier of British Columbia visited the Netherlands in 2019.

“There is definitely cross pollination happening between the two countries”, says Landheer. “Many Dutch immigrants who came to BC played an important role in agriculture and they brought a lot of Dutch knowledge and technology to the sector.”

Cross pollination

Both governments agree they’re on the right path. “If you want a sustainable solution to food security and supply chains, which means taking into account a growing global population while working with less to minimize the environmental impact, you have no choice but to turn to innovation”, explains Landheer.

There is sincere intent to continue the cross pollination, and the pandemic has only heightened the importance of Agtech solutions. Both the Netherlands and British Columbia have acknowledged this with recovery plans and financial support in Agtech, food and farming.

Lana Popham
©Lana Popham

Hon. Lana Popham is the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in British Columbia. She adds "We all have a shared desire to build innovative and sustainable food systems and I look forward to discussing how we can use the latest technology to create new opportunities for our farmers and food producers.

B.C. is home to over 150 agritech companies and we are continuing to develop and produce world-class solutions for the agricultural, food and seafood sectors. It is through partnerships, like the one we share with the Netherlands, that agritech and our food production and security will continue to grow. The future is full of exciting possibilities when it comes to agritech and I look forward to our continuous collaboration."

More on Dutch-Canadian collaboration in B.C.?

In the brochure that you can download below, you will find a number of examples of innovative companies in British Columbia, with strong connections to the Netherlands. We hope to see many more of these strong collaborations and are keen to support more innovators.

If you are interested to learn more, please connect with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver at van-ez@minbuza.nl or contact the Economic Affairs teams in Ottawa and Toronto.