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Dutch ambitions to make the international fresh food chain more sustainable

In terms of sustainability, the Dutch fruit and vegetable sector is an international leader. In which aspects is the sector different from other countries in this regard? What does that mean in terms of international trade opportunities? And how does the EU Trade Programme help growers exploit these opportunities? The seminar organized by GroentenFruit Huis and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) will be discussing these points at Fruit Logistica 2023.

Program in brief

  • 16:30 Welcome by Jack Vera, Dutch Agricultural Council in Germany
  • 16:40 Daphne ter Braak, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
    The EU Trade Programme helps Dutch businesses expand their sales markets
  • 16:40 Nikki Hulzebos, GroentenFruit Huis
    The Netherlands as a sustainability pioneer: opportunities for cooperation with other European partners
  • 17:10 Fred Lessing, Fresh Rail
    How is chain cooperation with COOP supermarkets boosting sustainable transport to Scandinavia?
  • 17:30 Network drink

Program highlights

Support for Dutch fruit and vegetable growers from the EU Trade Programme
Dutch entrepreneurs are losing billions in export opportunities, according to a study conducted by Ecorys for the RVO. Daphne ter Braak (RVO) explains how these opportunities can be recognized and utilized using EU Trade Programme financing. She is linked to the program in her role as Senior Advisor in Agrifood and Horticulture Internationalisation. Participants can still make full use of all the activities in the program until the end of 2023, such as participation in Asia Fruit Logistica (Bangkok) in September. 

The Netherlands as a sustainability pioneer and opportunities for international cooperation
The Dutch fruit and vegetable sector is an important part of the European fresh produce market, partly due to the efficiency of the entire chain, from production to consumer. The sector is also at the forefront when it comes to sustainability. For example, a Dutch consortium developed the HortiFootprint category rules. These enable growers to map out their environmental impact and set goals for improving sustainability. 

The Netherlands is also one of the pioneers of a European standard to calculate environmental footprints via the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules. Nikki Hulzebos of GroentenFruit Huis explains this new standard and how other European partners can join.

Nikki will also discuss the development of the environmental indicator for plant protection products and The Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV). The participants in this partnership look closely at subjects such as:

  • Due diligence
  • Combating food waste
  • Responsible sourcing through certification
  • Living wage
  • Reducing water consumption, especially when importing products from regions where water is scarce

Chain collaboration with COOP supermarkets boosts sustainable transport
Fred Lessing of Fresh Rail looks at the importance of chain collaboration in combination with sustainable transport by rail, using the example of the Scandinavian Connection project. This is the train connection between Spain, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia in 2023 that will begin in 2023. The plan is that Malmo in Sweden will become a 'fresh produce hub' for Norway, Sweden, and Finland (goods for Denmark will be delivered underway). The connection is still being finalized but is already at an advanced stage. The COOP Supermarkets procurement organization is an important partner because it gets the retail sector onboard in the project.

Register here for the seminar and networking drink. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to

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