Netherlands Management Profiles

DJÛKE VAN DER MAAT – Chairman

Djûke van der Maat is a 4th generation farmer growing apples, pears, plumbs, cherries and she is the first Dutch kiwi fruit grower. The farm also includes a farm shop, education, forestry, a maize maze, a horse livery and beef cattle.

A few years after graduating at Wageningen University, Djûke started her trading company, buying high quality fruit from selected growers. She stimulates farmers in growing their fruit in an integrated way and sells it under a certification scheme to retail and food services.

Farming in a densely populated area (10 million people within a 60 km radius), Djûke is highly interested in farmer-consumer relations. She is involved in several initiatives stimulating local produce, local farmers cooperating and and she is board member of the Dutch Young Multi-Functional Farmers Organisation Djûke was recognized as being top 3 agricultural entrepreneur of The Netherlands and received the European Innovation Prize for Women Farmers. Being awarded with a Nuffield scholarship in 2011 herself, Djûke is now chairperson of Nuffield Netherlands.

RENS KUYTEN – Secretary

Rens Kuijten investigated the cultivation, processing and marketing of quinoa (products) for the Netherlands and Western Europe as part of his Nuffield Scholarship. He was also interested in professionals who want to contribute in an international network around quinoa. Rens believes that the introduction of this production chain in Netherlands/Western Europe is an interesting niche in the market for humane sustainable quality nutrition.

During his scholarship, Rens visited the original source of quinoa production in Bolivia/Chile as well as the modern cultivation and processing areas of Canada and the USA. For years, Rens was active in the family dairy farm, but made place for his brother and eventually chose a work environment focused on innovation in agricultural products such as feed and veterinary medicinal products. Among others, he ran a company in arable crops and consultancy specialised in cultivation of dairy concentrates. Rens is married with three children.

Henk Smith – Treasurer

Henk Smith is farming in the north of the Netherlands were he mainly grows winter wheat and sugerbeet . Agricultural nature conservation is a part of his way of farming as well as grassland that is farmed organically.

Previously working in the agricultural financial sector, besides his work at the farm Henk is also an active board member for several organizations. Henk is board member of the national farmers union for the north of The Netherlands and chairman of the Agricultural Nature Conservation Groups in his province.

His 2011 Nuffield Scholarship strengthened Henk in his understanding of the value of knowledge. Much can be achieved by connecting international knowhow to local problems. Farmer to farmer communication brings simple answers to complex issues.

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