Dutch agro networking event in Erbil promotes Kurdistan Region private sector
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In efforts to promote agriculture development in the Kurdistan Region, the Dutch Consulate in Erbil organized a networking event on Thursday for roughly 125 Dutch and Kurdish companies, entrepreneurs, and government officials at Erbil’s Divan Hotel.
The consulate timed the event to coincide with Iraq's largest agro-food event, the Erbil Agro Pack International Exhibition that was held this week and which brought dozens of foreign businesspersons to Erbil at the same time.
In a speech, Dutch Consul General in Erbil Hans Akerboom welcomed guests and participants form all over the autonomous Kurdistan Region, plus those who hailed from his native country.
Ten international Dutch firms played an active role in this year’s Agro Pack conference, which runs from Nov. 23 to 26.
Since the main focus of the exhibition is to display products, Thursday’s networking event sought to create an informal environment for just a few hours in which those working for firms based in the Netherlands and Kurdistan Region could make potentially fruitful contact with one another.
Although Akerboom said his government actively supports the Kurdistan Region in the growth of its agricultural sector, he was quick to credit recent positive developments, largely achieved by the “Kurdish government and Kurdish entrepreneurs.”
What a great Dutch networking event. Around 125 Dutch and Kurdish agricultural companies, entrepreneurs and government officials came together to network and consolidate future agricultural cooperation. pic.twitter.com/GAH6BqprDE— Hans Akerboom (@jtmakerboom) November 25, 2021
He told Kurdistan 24, “We, as the Netherlands, support you in the growth of the agriculture sector. That is the main reason why we are here in the Kurdish Region.”
He also said the Dutch Consulate wants to share agricultural innovations with the Kurdish government and entrepreneurs in the Kurdistan Region.
“And looking at your beautiful Kurdistan, you have so much potential and so much land for agricultural production,” he said. “So why import so much from other countries? This, while you can grow fresh, cheaper, and healthier local products yourself.”
He underlined that the Dutch authorities can use their expertise and equipment to assist the local agriculture sector.
Deputy Consul Maaike Keizer told Kurdistan 24 that the Dutch government currently has three agriculture advisors to the Ministry of Agriculture in Erbil as well as ongoing efforts to bring Dutch companies to support local university training.
“We are a trade office so we focus on the economy and we believe economic stability would contribute to stability in the region,” she said. “So, we have different kinds of economic projects, so we even contribute to business registration projects for the Kurdish government, but as well, we have some humanitarian projects in the (displacement) camps.”
Such initiatives demonstrate Dutch support for projects that encourage greater human rights, press freedom, and female empowerment, apart from providing consular services to some 7,000 Dutch Kurds in the autonomous region of Iraq.
Karim Sulaiman, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, said at the event that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is ready to increase cooperation and work on strengthening “our bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and the Netherlands, and we wish you will succeed.”