dutch crop seed development wurs netherlands also

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

The hi-tech future of farming in the NetherlandsDutch farms also lead in seed production – seeds accounted for $1.7 billionworth of exports in 2016.For example, Rijk Zwaan, a Dutch seed breeder, sells high-yield seed varietiesin more than 25 groups of vegetables, many of which can defend themselvesnaturally against pests.Heleen Bos, who runs the company’s organic accounts and internationaldevelopment projects, has worked in some of the world’s poorest countriesincluding Mozambique, Nicaragua and Bangladesh, and has become aware of thethreat of famine.She admits that while they cannot immediately implement the same level ofhigh-tech agriculture seen in the Netherlands, medium-tech solutions such asplastic greenhouses, which have tripled some crop yields compared to crops inopen fields, which are more susceptible to pests and drought.While the Netherlands faces its own famine and the end of World War II, WUR’sRudy Rabbinge, professor emeritus of sustainable development and foodsecurity, helped devise extensive changes to transform the Dutch researchinstitution into what he calls ‘a university for the world, and not simply forthe Dutch.’This is reflected in the institution’s student body – 45 per cent of itsgraduate students are recruited abroad, and WUR alumni work in agriculturalministries across Africa, Latin American and Asia.Students at the institution, for example Leah Nandudu from Uganda, whoobtained a scholarship to attend the school, wants to help change theperception of people in her country and about the crisis they face, and whatthey must do to address it.Alongside WUR’s role in educating people from around the world, private Dutchfirms are also helping to empower farmers outside of Europe.For example, SoilCares, a Dutch agricultural tech firm, has been working witha family-owned bean field in Africa’s Eastern Rift Valley to explain how touse a small device that, alongside a cell phone app, analyzes soil propertiesand sends the results to a database in the Netherlands, returning a detailedreport on what fertilizers and nutrients the crop needs.This process, which takes less than ten minutes, costs just a few dollars andcan help farmers who have never had access to soil sampling reduce their croplosses.

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