NFP and the Skills for Horticulture coalition
Netherlands Food Partnership has supported the Skills for Horticulture coalition in numerous ways in 2020 to explore partners, opportunities for collaboration and existing practices.
In the first semester of 2020, Netherlands Food Partnership has supported RijkZwaan and HAS in identifying and approaching potential coalition partners and exploring the opportunities for joint action, while also exploring the existing practice in this domain.
Two meetings took place with potential coalition partners, primarily companies active in the horticulture sector in various countries of Africa. During the first meeting, a general discussion took place to explore the need for additional human capacity development based on the insights and experience of the companies present in different countries and horticulture markets. Most companies present shared the conclusion that an additional, collaborative initiative could have an added value. After that meeting, Netherlands Food Partnership collaborated with RijkZwaan and HAS to further investigate the needs and the potential areas for collaborative action, using a questionnaire that was sent to the companies present as well as to a broader group of about 25 horticulture companies. In parallel, NFP produced a quick scan of existing institutes in Africa which provide capacity development in the horticulture sector.
Based on these preparatory inventories, a second meeting took place mid 2020, which highlighted that:
- The companies that participated in the meetings and through the questionnaires confired that there is a need to further build both the knowledge and the skills of those active in the horticulture sector. This would be about bringing to the right level the basic knowledge. This includes amongst others ecological and social sustainability and innovative entrepreneurship
- Joint action needs to be small and compact, to start with. Think big, start small.
- Exchanging knowledge and experiences between the companies could be an add-on. Learning from each other, collaboration to learnt, in order to prevent the need of reinventing the wheel. Go the same path together. Do things together smartly. Jointly do things.
Overall, all actions need to be oriented towards sustainability. Making sure there is a lasting effect.
Based on these general ideas the participating companies and organisations agreed to start piloting collaboration in this area. The proposed pilot will be a joint horticulture training activity for staff of Dutch horticulture companies to be held in East Africa late 2020 and early 2021. In order for the pilot to be as specific as possible, the first training will be about integrated pest management and will be facilitated by experts of Koppert Biologicals.