GROW article on Koppert participation in Dutch Innovation Mission
Koppert South Africa recently had the valuable opportunity to participate in the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) Innovation Mission. The Koppert South Africa team joined various other Dutch role players, such as NL Branding, Delphy, Biota Nutri, Lentiz Cursus en Consult, Maastricht School of Management, Oost NL, Royal Eijkelkamp, Syngenta, and the University of Twente, to travel across the country linking Dutch innovative knowledge and technology with South African counterparts. The workshops and field visits focused on plant health, sustainable water use and crop protection in agriculture, specifically the fruit and vegetable sector. Central to the agri-food innovation mission was the exploration of equal cooperation on research and development for both researchers and companies.
Travelling through the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape, from 4 – 8 April, the participants gained insight into the development and challenges surrounding climate-smart and sustainable agriculture within the South African context. Conversations also centred around the role that key technologies can play in soil and water management, as well as exploring opportunities for public-private collaboration.
“It was an eye-opening experience.” says Emile de Groot, Technical Advisor from Koppert South Africa. “The roundtable discussions were an absolute highlight. Here we discussed ideas for collaboration in innovation and research regarding plant health.” Frank Enthoven, Managing Director of Koppert South Africa, found the visit to the railway station in Tzaneen, Limpopo, inspiring for future possibilities: “The railway station has been neglected for 20 years. It is connected to Durban harbour and will be upgraded in the future by Flying Swans to facilitate emerging farmers to have cold storage and be able to ship their products, mainly citrus, from Durban harbour for export to Rotterdam, and thus access to the European market.”
The mission highlighted key opportunities for Koppert South Africa in helping to educate and train emerging farmers in a sustainable way of crop production. In Limpopo alone there are 57 emerging citrus farmers with a cumulative 2000 Ha of citrus. “I believe we are finally in the position to offer support and business to emerging farmers, including Agri and Horti, in South Africa. This mission was focused more on agriculture, so I hope that we will collaborate again soon for a Horti Innovation Mission in South Africa” Frank concludes.