Study Tour Indonesian cooperatives (continued)


From 22 to 28 October, a group of 12 representatives of 6 Indonesian cooperatives supported by Agriterra, and 2 representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Cooperatives visit The Netherlands to learn more about cooperative development and changes in our country.

Day 3

“Say potato, say Agrico”, is the slogan of potato cooperative Agrico, where we were welcomed by chairman Adrie Vermeulen. Main reason for our visit was to learn from Peter Kemmeren (vice-chairman Youth Council) what the position, authority and activities of the Youth Council in Agrico are: formally only to give advice, but in practise the young farmers are being involved in a lot of important decisions. After that, ...Harry Iwema showed us the renovated greenhouse of Agrico Research, the ‘nursery room’ where the new varieties are being developed. 
In the afternoon, we visited the 130 hectare big organic farm of arable farmers Aalt and Sijbrand Westra, who are a member of Nautilus Organic, the only organic farmers’ cooperative in The Netherlands. The fact that their farm in Dronten is 4 meter below sea level was a scary idea for some of the Indonesian farmers, but the challenges they face, are similar to the Indonesian (organic) farmers. Aalt also shared his experiences as a member of the supervisory board of Nautilus with the Indonesian chairmen and managers.
Day 4
We started the 4th day of the study tour with a visit to the dairy farm of Herman Bakhuis in Daarle, who milks his 320 milking cows with 5 milking robots. Herman is also a board member of the Dairy Farming Department of LTO Nederland, the Dutch Organisation for Agriculture and Horticulture and part of the Farmer2Farmer program; for which he visited dairy farmers in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia to advise them on technical milking advice.
Next on the program was a visit to cooperative Vitelia in Oirlo, who supply their 500 members with animal feed (mainly chicken and pigs). Financial director Herman Rutten explained to the group that he wants their customers to be a member, and their members to be a customer. Because innovation is very important for Vitelia, they are one of the founders of the Feed Design Lab in 2013. During a guided tour, managing director Trudy van Megen explained why this pilot plant is important for innovation in the feed industry for Vitelia and their 100 other partners. We concluded our visit by climbing the 66 meter high storage and processing tower of Vitelia to enjoy the good view.

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