Polish delegation Agrologistics visit to the Netherlands
From June 27-29 2018, a delegation from Poland visited the Netherlands. During the visit, the delegation had the possibility to get acquainted with the Dutch approach on Agrologistics, an approach which can be characterized by public-private partnerships. The delegation mainly consisted of representatives of national and regional governmental organizations, with visits mostly focused on the role of public institutions and local government.
The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural products, one out of four trucks in the Netherlands transports agricultural products. Time, quality, perishability, key element in this is efficient and smart logistics, which makes agro-logistics of national economic importance. At the same time, climate and green aspects of logistics are getting increasingly important. As export and economic growth goes along with more transport, only increasing efficiency of logistics is not sufficient, more green solutions regarding agrologistics are needed. In the Dutch agrologistics approach both aspects are combined, following the track of data driven innovation and system innovations in which sharing of information, knowledge and experience between all stakeholders (government, industry and science) is a basic element.
In Poland, the economy is rapidly growing (growth percentage in 2017 of 3,8%). Due to large availability of European funds and participation of the EU single market, agriculture and agricultural productivity is growing resulting in increasing exports of agricultural product. In the last years Poland changed from a net importing country to a net exporting country, with agricultural exports in 2017 reaching a value of approximately 27 bln. Euro. Besides an increasing need, this offers also possibilities for a better and more integrated approach of agrologistics.
The visit started with several presentations explaining Going Dutch in logistics, which basically means an integrated approach. In optimizing supply chain management, agrologistics focusses on the integration of hardware (infrastructure), software (systems) and orgware (personal and organizations). Especially the latter is of utmost importance, it basis lies in the ability to cooperate between persons and organizations.
During the visit the concept of Greenport's and fresh parks were explained, in which the concept of clustering - connecting - directing was explained by visiting practical examples (Greenport Westland, Fresh Park Venlo), and how every stakeholder has its position within this concept. Smartly clustering of activities, connecting them with other stakeholders focused on cooperation within the supply chain. Business activity is leading, governments facilitating with infrastructure, masterplan and (regulative) framework, science by providing relevant applied knowledge and education by connecting students with practice (i.e. World Horti Center, Bright Campus Venlo). Via this, more value is created and competitiveness of a region is strengthened. At the same time, this offers possibilities to incorporate sustainable basic requirements (in order to be prepared for the future) and solutions (i.e. in the field of energy and water focused on energy transition; during the visit joint PL-NL research on the possibility for geothermal energy in Greenhouses replacing fossil fuels was presented).
Possibilities for Agri-food clusters and agrologistics in Poland
Based on the visit and experiences, following issues could be formulated from the visit:
- In Poland the economic foundation for development of strong agri-food business clusters is related to the following industries: poultry, dairy, and fruit and vegetable production and processing (especially soft fruits and apples). So, improvements in agrologistics should be best connected with these industries.
- In terms of strengthening agrologistics, the linkages with cluster developments are evident due to indispensable role the innovative logistics plays in internationalization of clusters (building so-called traded clusters). Modern, innovative agrologistics can contribute to the value chains of agri-food clusters, and consequently help achieve competitive advantage.
- Geographic location of Poland, improving transportation infrastructure, and competitive Polish truck companies make the country a good place for further development of the agri-food clusters based on innovative solutions in agrologistics. This process could be accelerated by attracting foreign direct investments (or joint ventures) directed to such developments.
- Well animated and managed cluster initiatives should focus on development of agrologistics as a driving force for internationalization of agri-food cluster. Cluster policy aimed at innovations as well as cooperation with local governments are important to facilitate realization of such projects.
Willard Biemans, liaison Agrofreshpark
Szczepan Figiel, professor IERIGZ
Martijn Homan, Agricultural Counsellor