The ninth PIC meeting, organised by Greenport West-Holland, was very successful. Experts from a large number of European countries took part in presentations, workshops and discussions about international cooperation in the agricultural sector. They also visited the GreenTech, the FlowerTrials and several relevant companies at Greenport. 

Greenport West-Holland is the regional network organisation of government, business, educational institutions and knowledge institutions. Together, they work towards a vital and sustainable future for the regional horticultural cluster. Plant InterCluster (PIC) is a partnership of four French plant clusters, with an annual international meeting. The 2019 edition was organised by Greenport and took place from 11 to 13 June. Cluster organisations, businesses, knowledge institutions and government bodies from France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands were represented. It was followed by a meeting of TRACK, the European partnership for Big Data in the agricultural sector, specifically in the cultivation of plants.

The PIC meeting started on Tuesday with a visit to GreenTech, where two subject-specific guided tours were given: Urban Farming Innovation and Digitisation & Big Data. On Wednesday there was a conference at the World Horti Center, where different European agricultural clusters presented their initiatives in big data, digitisation, precision farming, plant substances and health & nutrition. There were also workshops about water management, urban farming and other subjects. Christophe Guichard of the European Commission explained via an audio link how Europe is promoting cooperation between clusters, for example in order to increase exports to countries outside the EU.

On Wednesday evening there was a networking dinner at the Green Event Center of Bunnik Plants, during which Greenport West-Holland and the French cluster Vegepolys signed a cooperation agreement. Both clusters want to accelerate innovations in the horticultural sector by linking European clusters (businesses, government and knowledge institutions) together. The three-day PIC meeting also included company visits to the FlowerTrials, Demokwekerij Westland, Wageningen UR Bleiswijk, Delphy Improvement Centre and Anthura.

On Friday 14 June, some of the delegates of the PIC meeting took part in a discussion about TRACK. Within TRACK, Greenport West-Holland cooperates with partners from Spain (Technological Corporation of Andalusia), France (Vegepolys), Romania (AgroTransilvania Cluster) and Italy (Emilia-Romagna Regional Agrifood Clust-ER). The project is coordinated by Vegepolys and is financed by the COSME programme of the European Union.

Marga Vintges, active in internationalisation on behalf of Greenport: “It is increasingly important within Dutch agriculture that we work towards a good international position. Cooperation in Europe is essential in that respect. We are therefore very glad that we were given the opportunity to organise the PIC meeting, and that the reactions from the participants have been so positive. By means of the PIC meeting we have taken a big step towards further cooperation in Europe, thanks to the input of our strong business and knowledge cluster”.