Between March 22nd and March 30th 2018, eight visitors from the Miyazaki prefecture in Japan participated in the newly-developed programme ‘Discovering Dutch Agriculture and Horticulture - Drivers behind its success and lessons for Japan’, at Wageningen University & Research (WUR).
The Netherlands and Japan have a lot in common with respect to, for instance, population density, education level, work ethic, available technology and welfare standards. Also when it comes to agriculture, comparisons can be made. Examples are many family farms, strong cooperative organizations, fertile soil and high land prices. So why is it that, in the Netherlands, the total agricultural export is 53% higher than the total agricultural import, whereas in Japan, the total agricultural import is 1488% higher than the total agricultural export?
To unravel this question, the programme of Wageningen Academy covered a wide range of topics, including national and European agricultural policy, agricultural knowledge and innovation systems, supply chain logistics, business clusters (Food Valley), entrepreneurship, and new business models such as urban agriculture. The topics were addressed in lectures by WUR experts, demonstrated and detailed by interviews with stakeholders in field visits, and further discussed with the participants to make knowledge and insights applicable to the Japanese situation.
Jos Verstegen (WUR course leader and visiting professor of Miyazaki Sangyo-keiei University): “Although I knew quite well what topics would inspire our Japanese participants, it was still somewhat uncertain whether the whole customized programme setup using a Japanese interpreter would give the expected impact. Luckily it did!”
The participants rated the programme with a 4.8 (scale 1 to 5) and after the programme JA Miyazaki contacted Wageningen Academy again to provide lectures for a larger group of people from JA Miyazaki.