Trade mission results in new transatlantic cooperation

April 21, 2023

President of the Executive Board of WUR, Sjoukje Heimovaara, was on a trade mission in Vancouver, Canada, this week. The mission was led by Minister Schreinemacher of the Ministery of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and revolved around the future of agricultural and horticultural technology (Agtech).

Just like in the Netherlands, horticulture in British Columbia, Canada, faces challenges in the areas of labour, sustainability/circularity, food waste, quality and earning capacity. Agtech can be part of the solution. That is why the focus of this mission was on automation, robotisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in horticulture.


Simon Fraser University

Heimovaara visited various companies with Minister Schreinemacher. She also participated in a panel discussion with Joy Johnson, President of Simon Fraser University (SFU). On Wednesday, Heimovaara and Johnson signed a letter of intent for cooperation to collaborate in future research programmes, share knowledge and spark innovation in the Agtech field.

SFU intentieverklaring.jpg

“We highly value this new partnership with Simon Fraser University, as they are just as ambitious as our university when it comes to tackling global challenges in securing a sustainable future,” says WUR President Dr. Sjoukje Heimovaara. “No single government or scientific entity can do this alone. We need these kinds of partnerships to work on humanity’s greatest challenge: to make sure life on earth stays within the planetary boundaries.”

“I am also excited about this partnership because SFU and Wageningen University & Research have a shared commitment to advancing knowledge and solutions to global challenges,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “Together, we will tackle critical topics such as food production and climate change, and I look forward to seeing the results of our joint efforts in the years ahead.”


Protein transition

Sjoukje Heimovaara also met Frank Hart, chairman of Protein Industries Canada. They spoke about the necessity of the protein transition and how Canada and the Netherlands can work together better in this. You can read more about that meeting in our special contribution.