British agricultural organisations very interested in Dutch circular agriculture approach

The number of invitations the Dutch Agricultural Attaché in the United Kingdom receives to speak at agricultural events in the UK is increasing considerably. British agricultural and horticultural organisations are particularly interested in the Dutch circular agriculture policy. "Last week I spoke at three agricultural conferences," says Agricultural Counsellor Tim Heddema.

Dutch vision on transitioning to Circular Agriculture

Dutch vision on transitioning to Circular Agriculture

The Dutch are seen as leaders in circular agriculture

The Dutch vision for the future of agriculture, launched in the summer of 2018, is to stimulate food production methods with the lowest possible pressure on natural resources. The aim is to form closed supply chains, in which waste is eliminated and the use of fossil raw materials is no longer required. For example, nutrients from residual products are used to keep soils healthy and fertile and energy is extracted from low-value residual flows. There is still a long way to go before the vision is realised, of course, but change is certainly taking shape. British parties are following with great interest how Dutch farmers, growers and policymakers map out a new route to a circular agriculture, as this is an approach an increasing number of Britons in the agricultural sector are also considering.

Anglo-Dutch circular agriculture network is expanding

Requests to speak about this Dutch approach at conferences in the United Kingdom often come from the network that the Agricultural Department of the Embassy managed to build up in a short time. “Since the Vision on Circular Agriculture was presented, we have organised three very well-attended public diplomacy events in the UK that touch on this topic, and our fourth seminar in this series will be on Thursday 21 November 2019,” says Heddema. “The upcoming meeting aims to bring our British and Dutch contacts together to exchange ideas about the real costs of food production and how to achieve a fair distribution of margins in the chain. In the Netherlands we believe that it is crucial that farmers have a strong position to make the transition to circular agriculture successful.”

All participants in previous events have again been invited by the Dutch Embassy to join on 21 November and the network is expanding at each event. It is via that network that Heddema has been receiving invitations to speak at british agriculture events and explain the new Dutch approach to agricultural policies. “Last week I spoke at no fewer than three events from influential organisations: the National Farmers’ Union, the Institute for Agricultural Management and Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF). LEAF's annual conference last week was even entirely devoted to circular farming, based on our vision. Earlier I went on a working visit with them to British farmers who are already using elements of circular agriculture.”

Tim Heddema spreekt bij LEAF conferentie, 15 november 2019

Tim Heddema at LEAF's annual conference, 15 November 2019

Reducing the effects of food production on climate and biodiversity

A few months ago, the Vision on Circular Agriculture (also explained in this short video) was been translated into an Implementation Plan. The Agricultural team of the Dutch Embassy promote this vision and the implementation plan with great vigour in the UK. Heddema: “Unfortunately, the implementation plan is not yet available in English, but in the meantime we continue to inform our British friends on the steps being taken in the Netherlands and we also keep a close eye on what is happening here in the United Kingdom, because there are very interesting developments in this country too. Both countries are fully committed to high-tech agriculture to greatly reduce the effects of food production on climate and biodiversity. These are tremendous global challenges that no country can solve on its own. But by combining the knowledge and expertise from the Netherlands and the UK we can make great strides in tackling these global challenges together.”

Contact the Agricultural Department in London

British organisations interested in this major transition in Dutch agriculture are encouraged to contact the Agricultural Department of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the UK. Email: LON-LNV@minbuza.nl.