Dutch-Angolan agro-cooperation off to a flying start
Ten leading Angolan agricultural stakeholders visited The Netherlands at the end of June, where they laid foundations for future partnerships and collaboration. The mission to the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter fits into Angola’s prime goal to diversify the Angolan economy.
By Lula Ahrens
The initiative of the Netherlands embassy in Luanda to organize an Angolan agricultural mission to The Netherlands was the first of its kind. A group of influential Angolan agricultural stakeholders, including Fazenda Tchissola, Grupo António Mosquito, Nuviagro, Pomobel, Grupo Valoeste, Fazenda Kambondo, Banco Bai and Novagrolider, traveled to The Netherlands after Dutch agronomists had visited Angola during several expert missions over the last few years. Despite its small geographical size, the Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural food products after the United States.
Agriculture’s key role
Angola’s current economic crisis has prompted the Angolan government to decrease its dependency on oil and focus on agriculture as a future engine of economic growth.
The Angolan group met top officials from various Dutch ministries on 19 June, at the start of their three-day visit. Michiel van Erkel, Director of International Agribusiness at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, held a speech explaining that the ‘golden triangle,’ innovation and technology lie at the basis of Dutch agriculture’s success.
The term stands for cooperation between government, knowledge institutes and the corporate world.
Roses, dairy and potato cultivation
The group visited The Netherlands’ Dairy Campus, potato growers, dairy and potato processing companies, greenhouses and a rose grower. Director João Macedo of Agrolider: “The visit to Holland served mainly to put the companies present in the mission in touch with suppliers of equipment and services in the agribusiness sector, and to introduce them to the newest technologies and equipment. Both can be greatly beneficial to Angola’s agricultural development.”
During a round table discussion, financial experts including representatives of Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB, ING bank and Rabobank discussed financing agricultural initiatives and perspectives from the Netherlands on financial proposition, political risk management, due diligence and reputation management.
Mr. Pedro Castro Silva, Executive Director at Banco BAI, remarked that Banco BAI can benefit from Dutch banks’ experience regarding risk analysis of agricultural and livestock projects in The Netherlands. “It’s here that I see a possible partnership between Bai and Dutch banks,” he said.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR), which is rated among the three best agricultural universities in the world, lectured the participants on a range of topics ranging from food safety, security and sustainability to (glass) greenhouse production. Networking events with representatives from the Dutch dairy, cattle and potato sector laid foundations for possible future Angolan-Dutch agricultural collaboration and partnerships. Business connections were established.
The first Dutch companies will visit Angola this month to follow up on conversations held during this event.
Future Dutch-Angolan cooperation in agriculture
Despite the challenges in Angola, the participants agreed that Angola has all means at its disposal for a bright future in agriculture.
“Holland is an agricultural powerhouse in Europe,” Raul Mateus Ceo and owner of Pomobel and President of ECODIMA said. “It has the necessary and desirable experience to assist us in our early process of economic diversification.”
Martinho Mbakassy, Administrator of Group António Mosquito is both hopeful and ambitious about the future of Angolan agriculture. “I believe with all my heart that Angola’s agricultural potential can be explored in the next give five to ten years, if we can count on cooperation and partnerships with global agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial powerhouses such as The Netherlands,” he said.