FoodSwitch: increased earning capacity by making global food production more sustainable

FoodSwitch is the title of a proposal, submitted to Nationaal Groeifonds (National Growth Fund) by a broad coalition of companies, knowledge and educational institutions, interest groups and local governments. Via the proposal, these parties intend to contribute to a more-sustainable global food system, while simultaneously increasing the Netherlands earning capacity in an environmentally-sustainable way.

Nationaal Groeifonds has been set up to provide investment that contributes to the earning capacity of the Netherlands. The Cabinet recently informed the First and Second Chamber of Parliament about the growth fund’s procedures and what kind of proposals fit into it. In April this year, the evaluation committee is expected to deliver detailed advice to the Parliament about which proposals will receive funding.

FoodSwitch aims with the total public investment from Nationaal Groeifonds and its partners € 28.6 billion extra structural growth of the Dutch economy. This is distinct and separate from funding by the business community. The increase in sustainability initiated by this investment represents an important contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

FoodSwitch

FoodSwitch, partly financed by Nationaal Groeifonds, is intended as a food-chain accelerator program to speed-up innovation over the next 10 years. The idea behind FoodSwitch is to make food production more sustainable worldwide by accelerating the upscaling of innovations in which the Netherlands has a leading role. Our country is recognized internationally as a leader in sustainably-produced food, and is in a position to lead this global transition.

Within FoodSwitch, companies are facilitated to further develop technological solutions for food production and systems and to market them internationally. This opportunity, to test and demonstrate innovations in the Netherlands, strengthens the competitive position of participating companies. FoodSwitch initiates and stimulates collaborations between and within the sectors and connects broad and powerful innovation ecosystems. The coalition is open to interested partners who feel they have something concrete to contribute to FoodSwitch.

FoodSwitch focuses on three transitions. First, towards precision food systems that make more-efficient use of production factors such as water, land, energy, labor and food. Second, better utilization of sustainable protein sources and, third, circular food chains where losses in the food chain are minimized. Key technologies such as biotechnology and propagation techniques, information technology and smart systems make up the toolbox, along with social and institutional instruments that will help facilitate social acceptance of the innovations.

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