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Competitiveness of the Agro-food industry - Focus on innovation and logistics Published on: 27/11/2008, Last update: 31/01/2009

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Event date: 27/11 > 28/11/2008
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
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The European agro-food industry, a major global player, is currently facing deep economic, technological and regulatory changes. Also, the needs and expectations of consumers are evolving fast. <br/>Therefore, the European Commission invites representatives of the European food industry in November to join a 2-day conference in The Hague in order to exchange ideas about innovation and sustainability in the supply of agro-food within the European internal market.

Issues and challenges

Route description


Social Programme

General information

Issues and challenges

Numerous European programmes and resources are available to support the competitiveness of the European food industry and especially SMEs. Some of them are specifically fitted to the agro-food industry, with a view to helping the sector to grow and prosper.

Better knowledge and understanding of these instruments are prerequisites for an active participation of food industry in European projects that aim at sustaining the European food industry rank in the world and better feeding the world.

The Netherlands are one of the most agro-food intensive countries in the EU, with important exports, effective agro-food-logistics and a strong technology base.

Why is it worth attending this conference?

Currently and in the future, significant changes are very likely to affect the economic environment of Food Industry at EU and world level:

  1. The Common Agricultural Policy will be more and more directed towards farm producers while market supports will be progressively dismantled.
  2. Due to its dispersed structure, the Food Industry is in a weak position when negotiating with the retail sector.
  3. Consumers’ preferences are becoming more and more quality demanding encompassing a switch to more ethics (e.g. fair trade, sustainable food production) and a healthier diet.
  4. The emerging developing countries are causing a notable increase in the demand for food and the use of raw materials for non-food products increases so that scarcity of supply is now becoming a new risk.

Why particularly SME's?

SMEs represent 99% of the number of food companies in Europe and employs more than 4 million people. Therefore, they have to play a key role in the effort to keep the European food sector competitive. Because of lack of resources, SMEs leaders have hardly any time to enquire about European initiatives. Therefore, this conference will be an opportunity on the one hand for SMEs to improve their knowledge in the area of innovation and on the other hand for the Commission to better understand their concerns.

Issues and challenges

The main issues to be addressed in this conference are:

  • Agro-food logistics, illustrating value creation via innovative supply chain integration, multi-modality and cooperative operations ;
  • Bio-based economy, whereby industry increasingly makes use of resources in a sustainable way through schemes such as clever management of entire natural cycles, consumption savings, waste management and recycling ;
  • Food innovation, whereby novel food product properties are combined with consumer appeal attributes.

In this conference,Dutch and European business operators will share their experience in respect of these challenges.

As the host country of the conference, the Netherlands are one of the most agro-food intensive countries in the EU, with important exports, effective agro-food-logistics and a strong technology base.

Route description to World Forum

The World Forum is located in the Randstad (conurbation of Western Holland), at a short distance of airports, railway stations and highways. It disposes of a car park for 700 vehicles and the price for 1 journey is 12.00 €.

By car

From Utrecht/Amsterdam

Follow the A12 to Den Haag. The A12 turns into the Utrechtsebaan. At the end, turn left at the traffic lights onto the Zuid Hollandlaan. Turn right at the next traffic lights onto the Koningskade, which turns into the Raamweg. After passing under the fly-over, immediately turn right. Follow the bend onto the Hubertus viaduct and continue straight on along the Prof. B.M. Teldersweg which turns into the Johan de Wittlaan. Follow the signs World Forum Convention Center.

From Amsterdam/Leiden

Follow the A44, direction Centrum Den Haag/Scheveningen. The A44 turns successively into the N44, the Benoordenhoutseweg and the Zuid Hollandlaan. Further, as mentioned before.

From Rotterdam

Coming from the A13, follow at traffic intersection Ypenburg the signs in the direction of Amsterdam. At the Prins Clausplein follow the signs Den Haag/Voorburg. Pass over the viaduct, follow the signs Den Haag and continue on the Utrechtse baan. Further, as mentioned before.

By public transport

From The Hague Central Station (CS)

Take tram no. 17. You get off at the Statenplein stop. Take tram no. 10. You get off at the World Forum stop. Note: Tram 10 only operates at working days during rush-hour from 7.00 until 9.00 hrs and from 15.30 until 18.30 hrs.

From The Hague Hollands Spoor (HS)

Take tram no. 17. You get off at the Statenplein stop. Take tram no.1. You get off at the World Forum stop.


Participants are responsible for booking their own accommodation. However, we can recommend you the official conference hotel:

NOVOTEL Den Haag World Forum

Johan de Wittlaan 42-44

NL-2517 JR Den Haag

Phone + 31 70 4169 144

Fax +31 70 4169 133



The Novotel Den Haag World Forum is located above the World Forum Convention Center. Easily accessible,the hotel offers ample parking and is located within walking distance of the Frederik Hendriklaan shopping street and Scheveningen beach.This cosy hotel in The Hague features 216 non smoking comfortable rooms, Pangea restaurant, D SQUARE bar and a wellness centre.

Directions to Novotel

From Utrecht or Amsterdam on the A12 (E8, E10), drive until you reach the end of the Utrecht motorway. Then turn left at the traffic lights. At the next traffic lights, turn right (Raamweg) and continue straight ahead. Immediately after the St Hubertus overpass, turn right to head towards Scheveningen Haven. At the traffic lights, continue straight ahead and you will find the hotel on the right after the Shell service station.

Novotel access map

Social Programme

Thursday and Friday 27th - 28th October at 12.30 pm the European Commission is pleased to invite all the participants to lunch at the Amazon foyer area inside the World Forum.

On 27th October at 19h30 a gala dinner will be hosted by the European Commission in the Meridien Hotel des Indes for maximum 100 participants that will attend the conference. Situated at the Lange Voorhout in the heart of the city, Le Méridien Hotel Des Indes is a gateway to a proud history. Le Méridien Hotel Des Indes opened in 1881 and has hosted aristocrats, kings, heads of state, and celebrities. Originally built in the nineteenth century as the town residence of Baron van Brienen, the personal advisor of King William III, the property was sold only four years after the Baron’s death and was soon renovated into a luxury hotel.

2 Bus transfers will be organized from the World Forum to the Gala Dinner at 18h30 and 19h00. The return transfers will be at 22h00 and at 22h30

Lange Voorhout 54-56

The Hague 2514 EG


Phone: 31 (0)70 361 23 45


General information

Logistical information:



Phone: +32.2.743.15.40

Fax: +32.2.743.15.84

Information about the conference programme:

Dr. Evert Jan Krajenbrink

Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

Department of Trade and Industry

PO Box 20401

2500 EK The Hague, Netherlands


Phone: +31 70 378 5140

Fax: +31 70 378 6123

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