JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Lilianne Ploumen has travelled to South Africa to boost (horticultural) trade. On her two-day visit to South Africa, the Minister is accompanied by a business delegation, including representatives of the SMART business consortium for horticulture.
At the start of the trade mission, yesterday, the cooperative venture between SMART and Gauteng-based lettuce grower Jomajoco was announced. SMART is a public private partnership between Dutch leading horticulture companies and knowledge institutions. It aims to make horticulture technologies affordable and applicable for farmers in Africa. Sustainable development of the horticultural sector is important to realise food security, reduce poverty and protect the environment. Current bottlenecks in South Africa (pilot on mid-tech and high-tech) and Rwanda (low-tech) are low productivity, suboptimal functioning supply chains, and market inefficiencies at trade and retail level. Most farmers lack necessary recourses and have difficulties to produce enough yields and maintain quality while handling and storing their produce. Let alone with selling to the market.
As testament to this goal, Jomajoca’s Johan van den Bosch (right) and Harm Maters of Greenport Holland International signed an agreement. This agreement will provide funding for the project, opening avenues for longer term collaborations.
SMART works in South Africa and Rwanda, at different levels of technology. This allows the partners to gain experience in different settings, with different circumstances. It will make the adaption process more efficient, once the tech solutions are ready they will be extended to other regions. Greenport Holland International is managing this project. Besides leading Dutch horticultural companies Wageningen UR, TNO, BoP Inc. are part of the SMART consortium. The project is co-financed by the FDOV-programme of the Ministery of Foreign Affairs / RVO.