To become an agricultural country, you should have a lot of natural resources and land to grow the food. There is one small country that is an exception to all these requirements, and still, it has become the second biggest exporter of food in the world by solely relying on technology.
Netherlands is a tiny country with 1,300 inhabitants per square mile of land, and the country is devoid of almost all resources that are considered necessary for agriculture. The country only stands behind the US in the amount of food that it exports, despite having a land area 270 times smaller.
Looking down from high above the sky, you would see a patchwork of green fields, potato patches, green houses, hog barns, and what not. More than half of the land in Netherlands is used for agriculture and horticulture, and you will see millions of mirrors spreading over huge spans of the land that are shining in the light of the sun and glowing in the night.
The country stands a thousand miles from the arctic circle, but the climate controlled farms make it possible to become the biggest exporter of tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. They are also the second largest exporters of vegetables in value and one-third of all the vegetables that grow in the world source seeds from the Netherlands.
The tremendous agriculture of the country can be accredited to the Wageningen University And Research (WUR), the world’s top agricultural research institution. The university is the center of Food Valley that houses dozens of agricultural technology start-ups and experimental farms.
Ernst van den Ende, the managing director of WUR’s Plant Sciences Group, says that the planet must produce “more food in the next four decades than all farmers in the history have harvested over the past 8,000 years.” The reason is quite simple. The planet will house as many as 10 billion people by 2050, and if we fail to grow the agriculture at the same pace, billions of people will face starvation in the future.
The world’s population is growing fast, but the agriculture products are not and for now, technology is our best bet to meet the worlds food demand.