In the presence of Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Carola Schouten, Agricultural Minister Villalobos Arámbula of Mexico, Ambassadors Zabalgoitia Trejo and Wilfred Mohr, Felix Tarrats of Ceickor, Joep Hendricks of World Horti Center and Peter Maes of Koppert Biological Systems signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Dutch TV Studio in Hilversum. This signing is the start of intensive cooperation for the organisations.
The Mexican agri-food sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Mexico is one of the top eleven producers of agri-food products worldwide. Within this sector, the horticultural sector in particular has developed considerably in recent years. Specifically, within 'covered cultivation', the area has increased some 400 times between 2003 and 2018: from 132 hectares to 51,000 hectares.
For years there has been an exchange of knowledge and technical innovations between Mexico and the Dutch greenhouse horticultural sector. The Dutch company Koppert Biological Systems was the initiator of the Mexican research, knowledge and training institute Ceickor in Querétaro fifteen years ago. Since then, 25-30 students every year have graduated from Ceickor as properly trained growers, and Ceikor now has its own production locationas well. Nowadays, several Dutch partners are connected to the centre, including Priva, Ludvig Svensson and Mardenkro. All these partners are also participants in World Horti Center in Naaldwijk, Westland. In fact, both initiatives are business-driven so that they take an important place in the further development of the horticultural sector in these regions.
By structuring the cooperation between Ceickor and World Horti Center in a sustainable manner, a bridge is being built between the extensive expertise of the Dutch greenhouse horticultural sector and the knowledge requirements of Mexico. "A window of opportunity is literally unfolding for Dutch companies that can contribute to the improvement of the Mexican horticultural sector. To do so optimally, World Horti Center shares its best practices so that they can be implemented in Ceickor and contribute to the horticultural situation in Mexico in the longer term," Mark Zwinkels, Director International of World Horti Center, explains.
The official signing of the MoU took place during the opening ceremony of the virtual mission, which is taking place from 3 to 5 November and has been organised by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). This virtual mission replaces the outbound mission that was initially planned for April 2020.