Importance of Natural Resources

Why The NETHERLANDS is the World’s AGRICULTURE leader? – VisualPolitik EN


I’m going to ask a question and you can’t
Google it. What’s the biggest agricultural power in
Europe? Who is the biggest food exporter in all across the EU? Many will think Spain, Italy, or maybe France. After all, these countries have good weather and thousands of hectares of arable land. However, none of these countries gets close
to THE NETHERLANDS, also known as HOLLAND. To give you an idea, Holland is the largest
food exporter in the world, second only to the United States. What are you saying? You’re not surprised? Well think about it. We’re talking about such a small country,
that they even had to build dams to gain some land from the sea. In fact, it’s one of the most densely populated
countries in the world. Which means, they barely have any land to
cultivate. To this we need to add the fact that they
are one of the richest and most modern countries in the world. The first stock market created in history
was the Amsterdam stock exchange. And I’m sure you all know Dutch companies
such as SHELL, PHILIPS or the ING bank. Normally, when a country has many industrial
or service companies, agriculture is placed on the back burner. You may be wondering: Why? Well imagine that we have a piece of land,
for example in Spain, that measures one hectare. If we use it to plant potatoes, we can earn
between 7,000 and 8,000 euros per hectare. Now, imagine the amount of money that we could
earn if we used that area to build a factory or an office building. Do you understand now? Well, despite all this, Holland is the world
leader in potato exports. And is above France, Spain or even the United
States. I know what many of you may be thinking. Agriculture in Europe? I’m sure Brussels is giving out some grants
somewhere! Agriculture is one of the most protected sectors
with the most aid in the entire European Union. However, the Netherlands isn’t the country
that receives the most money. Of course, they receive aid like every other
member country. But they don’t get even a third of what
Greece gets, for example. And if we compare it with larger countries
like France, the differences are abysmal. So how is it possible that with so little
land and so little help, Holland has become the market garden of the world? As you can imagine, the answer is simply defined
in one word: TECHNOLOGY. In a farm in the Netherlands we can find tractors
that drive themselves, drones that monitor crops and, of course, resource-optimization
at the highest level. However, there’s still a question: Why does
Holland have a more modern agriculture than, for example, Spain, which has more aid from
Europe? What has the Netherlands done that can be
imitated in other countries? Today we’re going to answer these questions
but before, let’s take a look back at history. FROM THE FIELD TO THE UNIVERSITY In the 70s, Holland was one of the most prosperous
economies in Europe. Companies such as Philips or Airbus were conquering
international markets. And all this were good news. But, as we always say in VISUALPOLITIK, not
everything is a field of roses. Imagine being 20 and living in the Netherlands
back at in time. Where would you have liked to work? In an international company like Philips,
with high salaries and good conditions… or on your father’s farm? Exactly! Dutch agriculture was on the verge of disappearing. We have to add something very important to
this. As we said before, the Netherlands is very
small and there’s hardly any space for large farms. For example, there’s plenty of land in the
United States. And that means that farmers can group and
create large farms. In fact, nowadays a lot of American farms
belong to large companies. This means that they can make scale investments
and, for example, buy planes to fumigate huge areas of land. However, in the case of the Netherlands, farms
are small. With an average size of around 7 hectares,
making large investments became really complicated. To make matters worse, by the 70s, Dutch salaries
were already much higher than in other European countries. In other words, unlike the farmers in Southern
Italy, the Dutch couldn’t compete with low prices. And you may be wondering, why did they need
agriculture? After all, in those years, there was already
a certain degree of international trades. The Netherlands could import food while they
manufactured televisions or airplanes, right? Yes, you’re right. From a purely economic point of view, they
could’ve easily let go of their primary sector. But, my dear friends of VISUALPOLITIK, not
everything in life is economy. And in a country like Holland, peasant associations
have a lot of power. More than in almost any other country. For example, in many other countries they
have something called the Social Dialogue table, which is an organization where the
government, employers and unions meet. Well, in the Netherlands they have something
similar. But along with employers and unions, farmers
and rancher associations are also well represented. And in the 70s, Dutch farmers and ranchers
weren’t willing to change jobs. So, put yourself in this situation: Holland
had to maintain its primary sector at all costs. But, at the same time, all the odds were against
them. At this point, I know what you may be thinking… Grants! The solution would be to give subsidies to
the farmers so they’d stop protesting! Right? Of course, it wouldn’t be the first nor
the last time such policies are applied. But the Dutch government had other plans. Now that they had to maintain their primary
sector, they wanted to do it well. And, since they couldn’t reduce salaries
or group farms, there was only one solution left: to improve productivity. That is, getting the farmers to produce more
and better while working. How? We’ll see that right now! THE UNIVERSITY OF WAGENINGEN You’ve surely heard it a thousand times:
Silicon Valley wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for Stanford University. It’s the mecca of research in everything
that has to do with electronics and telecommunications. But they don’t only research! They also train the best computer scientists
in the world. And as they leave the university, they go
directly to big companies like GOOGLE, APPLE or TESLA. Well, as far as agriculture is concerned,
the mecca of innovation isn’t in the US but in the Netherlands. Yes, friends of VISUALPOLITIK, I’m talking
about the University of Wageningen, also known as FOOD VALLEY. Many of you might not have heard about this
university. That’s because they only work in the world
of agriculture. They don’t have degrees in law or art history. Wageningen’s motto is to improve food quality
in the entire world. You may be wondering, but what is so special
about this University? The first difference is money. The Netherlands knew that it needed technology
to improve its fields. So what did they do? They covered their scientists with money. In just two decades, Wageningen University’s
research budget doubled. But wait a moment because money isn’t the
only important thing! Truth is, the most important thing wasn’t
HOW MUCH but WHERE that money was coming from. See… in many European countries and in most
of Latin America, there’s a very clear line that separates the public and private universities. Public universities live from the State. Period. Of course they can have some kind of collaboration
with private companies. But… let’s be honest, this barely represents
a small percentage of their entire funding. Wageningen’s case is different. 50% of their money comes from the Government,
25% from the university’s own income and the last 25% from private companies. And I know what you’re thinking! Private companies financing a university? Does this mean that the university is private? Of course not! But it is a great advantage. It allows the university to be connected to
the rest of society. Ok! Ok! Sorry, I know that sounded like a politician’s
bluff. I’m sorry. I’ll explain with an example. While preparing this video, we telephoned
CESAR BRAVO, a farmer from Spain, more specifically from the Canary Islands, to ask about how
agricultural modernization works. You may not know this, but livestock is very
important in the Canary Islands. Especially goats. They have a specific type of goat, called
PALMER GOAT, which is unique in the world. And, logically, there are several institutes
and foundations that dedicate to studying this type of goat. However, as CESAR explained, practically none
of the studies they make are useful to farmers. Think about it! If you have a goat farm, what kind of research
do you need? You’ll want to know how to produce more
and better milk, right? Studies on how to better feed the animals,
dietary supplements or even genetic engineering. Well, if you go to the ICIA website, for example,
which is the Canary Institute of Agricultural Research, you won’t find anything like that. There are tons of academic articles that explain
the racial origin of the palm goat, whether it’s related to other goats in Morocco or
Tanzania or if they existed during the middles ages. Practical use? Practically zero. Meanwhile, according to the TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION
ranking, Wageningen’s studies are the most cited in their field. But that’s not all! I bet you can’t guess what the university’s
official language is. You surely think that by being in Holland,
they’d speak Dutch, right? Well, none of that! We’re talking about the world capital of
agricultural research! But not only that! Record numbers of foreign students at Dutch
universities of technology In this university, more than 40% of all students
are foreign. As is the research staff. No matter where you’re from, if you have
a talent for agriculture, you can get a place in Wageningen. Which is why the official language is English. That explains why Wageningen is, for example,
the pioneer in LED lamps for greenhouses, allowing to create precisely controlled artificial
microclimates. Thanks to this, the Netherlands is one of
the leaders in tomato growth, even though in natural conditions, tomatoes would never
grow in such a cold country. But not only that! In a country like the US, farmers need about
126 liters of water to grow 1 kilogram of tomatoes. Well, thanks to this university’s research,
now one can produce the same amount with just 8 liters of water. Imagine how much saving that means both from
an economic and ecological perspective. But wait a moment! Research is good but… it really isn’t
worth anything if it stays within the university. And in that, Holland is again an example of
how to do things right. FROM THE UNIVERSITY TO THE FIELD Let’s get back to Spain for a moment. Imagine that we have a tomato garden and want
to invest in this hydroponic technology that will allow us to save on water. The European Union, more precisely the Common
Agricultural Policy, provides all kinds of grants so that farmers can modernize their
fields. So we’ll go to the Agricultural Extension
Agency, which is where all these grants are managed. Well, we’ll get our money there and they’ll
make sure that we will actually spend it to improve our production techniques. So far so good. But, how do we know what machines to hire? One would think that the farmer would know,
better than anyone, what their lands would need. But the truth is that the agricultural world
evolves as quickly as Internet companies. And if nobody advises us, we’ll have to
find the information ourselves. Well, that’s the situation in which almost
every Spanish farmer is! There’s a huge gap between the university
and the field. The Dutch case is entirely different. In this country they have the so-called Agricultural
Council Offices. That means that there’s a person in charge
of explaining what type of machines we should buy and what technologies are best suited
for our type of crop. The result? The Dutch field looks nothing like those of
any other country. While most of the European countries consume
tons of antibiotics for animals, the Netherland’s ranchers are already using the most advanced
veterinarian techniques in such a way that they can prevent diseases instead of curing
them. The same happens with plant pesticides. In this country they noticed that if they
use drones to monitor the crops, they can control each and every one of the vegetables,
and prevent them from becoming infected. And in a country where almost half of the
crops are irrigated, they have managed to decrease their water consumption by almost
90%. And agricultural product exports surpassed
92 billion euros last year. And not only that! Holland is also making money by exporting
their own technology. The UAE goes Dutch to ensure their food security
So the question is, do you think other countries can import these kinds of policies? How far can the technologies developed in
Holland help feed the entire world? Leave your answer in the comments. Before we finish, I want to thank CESAR BRAVO
and ANGEL GAGO, from AGQ Nutrition, for helping me in this video. And if you’re interested in this subject,
we’ll soon release another video explaining the European Agricultural Policy, the so-called
CAP, in depth. Also, don’t forget to visit our friends
from Reconsidera Media .com, the podcast that provided the vocals on this video that were
not mine And as always, do remember that we publish
brand new videos every week so hit that subscribe button and you will not miss any post. If you liked this video, give us a thumbs
up and, as always, I see you next time.


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