PIRSA Netherlands Trip
A number of AUSVEG SA growers recently accompanied the South Australian Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Leon Bignell MP, on a delegation to the Netherlands to learn about advanced horticultural production from 16‐21 April 2015. The growers were funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia and were able to gain an insight in to current trends and innovations in horticultural technology in the Netherlands and travel with the South Australian Agriculture Minister, the Hon. Leon Bignell MP. The primary aim of the tour was to investigate the suitability of these technologies to South Australia’s horticulture sector. The Netherlands is a world leader in cropping technology and is home to a number of large supply chain companies, and the delegation formed relationships with Dutch counterparts that will promote collaboration in horticulture innovation. The tour commenced in Rotterdam, with a visit to the head office of Rijk Zwaan, a major developer of seed varieties; as well as hearing a presentation from Hoogendoorn Glasshouse Automation. The delegation also visited Syngenta and Enza Zaden, where the delegation toured their greenhouses and packing warehouses. A highlight of the trip was a visit to Koppert Cress, who specialise in growing unique plants from seedlings. The owner, Rob Baan, provided delegates with a history of the company, and provided samples for tasting. The final day in Rotterdam consisted of a visit to Market Hall, which consists of a series of food stalls situated beneath a giant arc. On display were a variety of fresh produce, sweets, freshly produced drinks as well as seafood. Additionally, the group had the pleasure of taking a boat to tour of the port of Rotterdam, which is one of the largest ports in the world. The group witnessed the various shipyards, docks and a multitude of containers being loaded on to various vessels. The delegation then travelled to Amsterdam to visit the Amsterdam Food Centre, where they were provided with a tour of the facilities and a demonstration of how the needs of retailers, caterers and other grocers are met by the wholesale markets. The day was completed with a visit to Kubo who specialise in greenhouse technology, and the delegation was joined by the Hon. Geoff Brock MP, Minister for Regional Development. A major focus of the tour was employment in South Australia, with Minister Bignell and Minister Brock discussing opportunities to increase horticultural jobs in South Australia via the construction of greenhouses. The Ministers discussed costs, employment opportunities and potential projects with Henk van Tuyl, Export Manager at Kubo. AUSVEG SA and other groups will be conducting follow up consultations with the South Australian Government to determine ways to utilise international technology and expertise to benefit the local industry. It is encouraging that the current South Australian Government sees opportunities to further develop the local industry and AUSVEG SA thanks Minister Bignell for hosting the hugely successful delegation.