The Netherlands should invest in the long-term sustainability of the food and agricultural system


26/11/2015 - The food and agricultural system in the Netherlands is innovative and export-oriented, with high value-added along the food chain and significant world export shares for many products. To maintain and build on this performance, government policy should increasingly focus on measures to boost innovation and improve sustainability performance, according to a new OECD report.

Innovation, Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in the Netherlands examines the conditions in which businesses in the Netherlands undertake innovation in the food and agriculture sector to become more productive and environmentally sustainable. It draws attention to the increasing environmental and societal constraints facing the Dutch food and agriculture sector, and recommends that The Netherlands develop a longer-term vision for agricultural policy and innovation investments that reconciles productivity growth and resource sustainability.

The report recommends that the Netherlands reinforce the role of the government in shaping the research agenda, which would improve the consideration of sustainability issues.

“The agricultural innovation system has been very successful in helping the Dutch farm sector achieve high economic performance,” Ken Ash, OECD Director of Trade and Agriculture, said during a presentation in The Hague. “The challenge going forward is ensuring that the innovation system also delivers greater sustainability.”

With an annual turnover of EUR 73 billion, the agricultural and food sector is one of the most important of the Dutch economy. Food, agriculture and horticulture have been identified in the Dutch national innovation strategy as top capital and knowledge-intensive sectors with strong export market positions. As part of this strategy, EUR 1 billion was invested in agri-food R&D, 55% of which came from the private sector.

The OECD recommends continuing to encourage public-private collaboration, while further targeting agricultural policy programmes towards improving capacities for the adoption of innovative practices; creating additional incentives for private investment in R&D; improving the capacity of farmers to participate in the agricultural innovation system; and revisiting the existing mix of regulation, financial incentives, and market-based mechanisms to improve the preservation of natural resources and foster eco-innovation.

An embeddable version of the Review is available together with information about downloadable and print versions of the report.

For further information, journalists should contact Catherine Moreddu, OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate (mobile: +33 6 86 83 64 10), or the OECD Media Office (Tel.: +33 1 45 24 97 00).

Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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