Do you know how small Netherlands is?
Its total land-area is 41, 258 km2, populated by 16 million people, making it the 5th most densely populated country in the world. Thus, land is especially scarce; the arable land per capita is only 0.052 hectare, one of the smallest in the world. But despite this situation, the Dutch have managed to be the world’s second biggest agricultural exporter, beating other countries whose sizes far exceed it.
So, how could 0.008% of the world area provides more than 20% of the entire traded agricultural product in the world?
As in the old saying, “God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland. “, this so-called ‘Dutch Miracle’ doesn’t happen accidentally. They continuously use out-of-the-box thinking to find new solutions for real-life problems. They do different things and do things differently. They’re always adapted to new circumstances, accepting challenges – looking for new ways to avoid their weakness and developing their strong points.
The scarcity of land is compensated with excellent technology. They have the largest area of greenhouses in the world, equipped with high-end technology. They largely use hydroponic system that is proven to be more productive and environment-friendly.
The Dutch has a small internal market, so they focus on the international trade. They perfected their transportation, with highly efficient Schiphol airport, the Rotterdam port, networks of railways and extensive railroads reaching to almost every farm.
They establish good relationships with other countries. They become aware to the demand of international market and quick to adapt to changes. They export profitable products such as potatoes, flowers, and dairy products in exchange for low-priced grains. They import necessary commodities, process them, and then export them with a wide profit margin. All this combined to make each hectare of land in the Dutch have a net export of more than 3000 USD, the highest number in the world.
The government plays an important role in the success of the Dutch agribusiness. They created good environment of institutions, fair competition and encouraged innovations. The Dutch government supports farmers with excellent research facilities, such as Wageningen University and Research Center. If a problem arises, a farmer simply calls the government research center and then an expert will be sent over to examine the facility and crops, identify the problem and offer solutions.
The government also invests heavily on education by building a lot of educational places for agriculture and making basic education free. Nowadays, most farmers are graduated from green secondary education and training. Approximately 10% of them are college educated and that number keeps growing. Better-educated farmers will be more aware of their needs and quicker to learn new technologies and techniques to improve their knowledge and skill.
Dutch agriculture is a combination of success in different aspects such as politic, international relation, industry, transportation, education and technology. Therefore, their successful experiences should be studied and applied all over the world, in order to accommodate the growing need of food for the ever-expanding population in the future years.
– ditulis oleh Anesia Tania