News - February 23, 2012

Amsterdam brings Wageningen and Beijing together

Beijing wants Wageningen UR to help establish large-scale agriculture and horticulture. Partly thanks to mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan.

Wageningen UR has managed to establish a presence in Beijing within the space of a year. On 23 February, board chair Aalt Dijkhuizen signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing with Mayor Guo Jinlong and Loek Hermans, who represented Dutch horticultural companies. They expressed the intention of improving and expanding food production in the Beijing region. The region has a population of 20 million and currently imports 90 percent of its food, much of it transported at night. This is a massive logistical operation, so Mayor Guo Jinlong would like to see his region producing more of its own food. One of the plans is to create more modern horticultural centres for both production and R&D.
This contact has come about partly thanks to Amsterdam city council, which has longstanding links with its twin city Beijing. When Mayor Van der Laan noticed last year that Beijing needed expertise to raise food production, he phoned Dijkhuizen. This led to a visit to Bleiswijk by Guo Jinlong and now to the new agreement. The AFSG has also been asked to carry out an assignment for COFCO, a big and largely government-owned food company in Beijing.
Van der Laan was in Wageningen last week with the Amsterdam Economic Board. Amsterdam and Wageningen UR agreed to go on trade missions together in future, including to India and to South Korea.