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The Agro-Food sector in the Netherlands is very much an international affair. Most of the Dutch companies act on a global scale in international trade and in technological cooperation. More than half of products produced in the agro and food sector are exported. Our country has attracted a great deal of investment in the Agro-Food sector from abroad. The region hosts many international food companies like H.J. Heinz, Mead Johnson, Danone, Kikkoman and Cargill, which also have their R&D offices in the Food Valley. Regional innovation programmes in the east-Netherlands are also open for participation of international partners.

The most important agrofood stronghold of the East-Netherlands is Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR). It is a agrofood/life science university combined with 5 contract research organisations. Wageningen is the central location, but the scientific conglomerate is located in many places in the Netherlands and abroad. Wageningen UR has five permanent offices outside in Brazil, Chile, China, Ethiopia and Zambia. WUR belongs to the European top 3 in health and nutrition research. Wageningen UR’s Research focus:

  • Agricultural (animal, vegetal)
    • Vegetal productions
  • Animal productions
    • Livestock
      • Aquaculture
  • Agro-biotechnologies

    • Agro-Energy

    • Bio informatics & Bioservices

    • Food security

    • Genetic improvement and disease resistance

  • Food (including breeding food)
    • whole chain
    • type of sector: crops, livestock, feed, nutrition, ingredients, biobased industry
  • Type of R&D performed:
    • Basic research
    • Pre-competitive
    • Industrial

The development of the Agrofood cluster is propelled by the Food Valley foundation - one of Oost NL’s partner organisations in the region. Food Valley provides the platform for collaboration between the companies and institutes in the the agrofood sector in the region and beyond.  There are some ± 150 paying members and ± 1400 non-paying members under the Food Valley umbrella.

The agrofood cluster in a nutshell:

•            Universities, higher education institutions: 3 universities

•            Technology centres/platforms: ±20

•            Start-up / spin-off companies: ±50

•            SMEs: ±1200

•            Large companies/multinationals: ±80

The Food Valley cluster organises on an annual basis the Food Valley expo - an international conference for private and public players in the international agrofood community. The expo is visited by 400 – 500 people, of which around 40% from abroad. Language is in English.

Oost NL contributes to the implementation of the Food Valley innovation and internationalisation programme. Using the Food Vally label, we support agrofood companies in their innovation process.

Ever since the founding of Oost NL we have accumulated has a great deal of experience in EU-programmes such as the Structural Funds, FP5 and FP6, Horizon 2020 and Interreg a, b, and c. Oost NL has supported in close collaboration with Wageningen UR the preparation of the Food KIC consortium Food Best (, which prepares a bid to be submitted to the KICs-tender in 2016 of DG Education. Another relevant EU-food project is for example: Food 2020 (Interreg 5a Germany - The Netherlands). Food 2020 supports SMEs and knowledge institutions to develop cross border consortia with an aim to develop new products, processes and services for the agrofood market.