Nieuws - 30 september 2004

Government sees Food Valley as promising growth area

The Dutch government initiative to stimulate the knowledge economy headed by Prime Minister Balkenende, Innovation Platform, declared the Wageningen area as one of the two most promising innovation regions in the Netherlands. Chairman of the organisation Food Valley, Theo Meijer, told participants at the Food Valley conference last week that he had received the message in an official letter.

The cabinet wants to concentrate on stimulating the economy in four regions in the Netherlands rather than spreading scarce resources thinly. According to the memorandum ‘Peaks in the Delta’, this needs to be done by pumping in money from The Hague, Brussels and local governments to encourage joint cooperation between scientists and companies in certain subject areas.

The Food Valley organisation aims to have at least thirty new enterprises set up in the Wageningen region by 2008, as well as two or three private Research and Development departments. In addition there should be at least twenty knowledge intensive joint venture projects initiated. If the plans succeed, said Meijer, it will create five hundred or more new jobs.

Henk Aalderink, Deputy for Economic Affairs of the Province of Gelderland, made clear what the psychological driving force behind Food Valley is: the fear of up and coming economies on the other side of the globe. ‘I was in China recently,’ said Aalderink. ‘Things really hit home: how dynamic the economy is there and the drive towards progress. It made a big impression on me.’

At the end of the afternoon the Food Valley Award was presented to the Polish company Biotrem. The company makes oven-proof disposable plates and cups from wheat fibres that are biodegradable. Biotrem received a cheque for twenty thousand euros. / WK