An essential question: Do you stand still? Or do you work together?
TristateCity is an elaborate plan of Dutch investors to attract foreign investors to the Netherlands and the VNO-NCW supports this plan. The reason there is so much support for TristateCity is because of the highly fragmented presentation of Dutch companies, municipalities and regions, for example on international exchanges. The TristateCity concept aims to provide foreign investors with a better insight into the possibilities of the Netherlands and surrounding regions.
TristateCity is not just there for the sake of having a program like this. It is aimed at bringing investors to the Netherlands, not just Dutch investors. We see this among other industries within around the world and in the Netherlands but in the greenhouse horticulture industry, this is not happening fast enough. TristateCity is aimed at foreign governments and investors with, the right, Dutch parties to address their foreign projects and expand the influence of the Dutch Horticulture industry. However, due to the lack of cooperation, the cohesion, financial power, market power and especially professionalism of foreign parties, we don’t see this happening nearly enough. This is not only bad for greenhouse horticulture in the short term, but also for the companies invested in the Netherlands in the longer term. Other countries need to make it smarter, work closer together and offer propositions with the Dutch government cooperate and support the growth that will benefit us all.
We know that the world population will grow to 9-11 billion people in 2050, of which about 50% live in Asia and roughly 25% in Africa. In order to feed the world's population in a sustainable way, we can use our knowledge and experience from the Netherlands. Huge chances! But only when we work intensively. Mostly in consortia, proactive and with total solutions.
The latest initiative in Dutch greenhouse horticulture is Dutch Greenhouse Delta. It seems to be some sort of a TristateCity, or what TristateCity will try to be; similar but different. This initiative has the motivation to merge all other initiatives and counterparts so that a foreign governments or investors always ends up at the correct conclusion, that this is the right investment for international cooperation. According to Ruud van Vliet, the director of RaboBank, “I think it's a swell plan to support this initiative together” (“Het lijkt mij een prima plan als we dit initiatief gezamenlijk ondersteunen”)
Due to lack of cooperation and therefore marketing power, the same struggler to move further along with investments and innovation. Acceleration by clustering, front and / or backward integration, merger / fusion, whether or not in growers or sales associations, is called a solution, but it seems difficult to put in practice.
Over the past two weeks, Vliet attended two meets at which he could discuss with banks the vision for the ornamental plant and vegetable greenhouse class industry. They decided on two red lines that limited the profitability of production for the companies and the ever growing importance of online sales. Despite the three relatively good years, the average profitability of greenhouses is still moderate. Rabobank expects the importance of online sales in business will grow at least 30% in 10 years. The rapid development of portals like Bloomon, Hellofresh, Picnic, Amazon, Bol.com, Cool blue, Alibaba etc. was recognised by all presenters.
Rabobank wishes to extend the notion of extensive cooperation with their investments. Other businesses are able to see the passion and drive that Rabobank has to help them achieve their visions. They believe that cooperation can bring their sector further, and through the difficult growth times. Difficulty can come when people have too large egos, too much distrust and / or professionalism? According to van Viet” Who knows where it may come from. That is why I ask all industry stakeholders the question; do you stay still or are you going to work together?” (“Daarom stel ik aan alle ondernemers uit de sector de vraag; blijven jullie stilstaan of gaan jullie samenwerken?)
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