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  • The Netherlands is a small country.

  • It’s so small, you could fit it into the U.S. two hundred and seventy times.

  • But it’s big when it comes to making food.

  • Remarkably it has the second largest agricultural exports in the world,

  • mainly through being able to produce vast amounts of food on tiny plots.

  • The Netherlands isn’t exactly designed for mass farming.

  • Because of limited space farmers have learned to eke out as much as possible from the land.

  • With a third of the country under sea level, the Dutch mastered how to make land using

  • levees and built windmills to drain marshland to create fertile soil.

  • This area just outside of Amsterdam - Flevopolder - is the largest artificial island in the

  • world and didn’t exist half a century ago.

  • Nowadays over half the ground in the Netherlands is used for agriculture.

  • It makes more food than it’s people can eat.

  • But there was a time when the Dutch faced starvation.

  • 1944 - and the Allies begin to liberate Europe.

  • The Nazis occupy the Netherlands and begin a blockade of the North.

  • It created a food shortage so severe, the Dutch Government encouraged its people to

  • forage for acorns and chestnuts.

  • Tens of thousands perished from famine.

  • After the war, as the Dutch rebuilt, ensuring food security became a priority.

  • The issue was important to the new Minister for Agriculture Sicco Mansholt -

  • a former farmer and a resistance fighter in the war.

  • He would begin to drive changes that would turn farming into big business.

  • Before the war, Dutch farms operated like those in most other countries. Small plots

  • had a few livestock and produced a mixture of seasonal crops to service local populations.

  • Mansholt wanted mass production

  • and built on a decades-long system of state support for farming.

  • He pursued a policy of land consolidation. Larger, more productive farms were encouraged

  • to absorb smaller, less profitable farms.

  • It was all about using less labor to improve yields.

  • In 1963 the Government launched a fund to help older farmers sell up

  • and to help young farmers start new businesses.

  • State funding into research and technology such as fertilizers and machinery followed

  • and thanks to aid from the US Marshall Plan, numbers of tractors rose quickly,

  • helping farmers work more land.

  • Dairy production grew fast as cooling tanks and milking machines were invented.

  • In 1960 the average Dutch dairy cow would produce 4200 kg of milk per year;

  • in 2007 this had nearly doubled to 7,880 kg.

  • Oversupply of milk wasn’t a problem - the Dairy Board created Joris Driepinter

  • and he encouraged kids to drink plenty of it.

  • But technical innovation didn’t stop with machines.

  • The dutch pioneered specialist greenhouses, creating conditions that would result in many

  • more plantings than ever before.

  • These greenhouses are in the south western section of the Netherlands

  • and they enable farmers to grow crops the year round.”

  • With temperature and humidity carefully controlled,

  • an elaborate water system keeps the crops properly moist

  • If you were to put all of the Dutch greenhouses together today they’d cover an area the

  • size of Manhattan.

  • Farming under glass, another example of dutch ingenuity!”

  • Then there was a huge discovery in 1959.

  • The vast Groningen gas field would offer Greenhouse horticulture a huge boost.

  • Farmers profited from the cheap energy, as their crops benefited from the heat

  • and the added CO2.

  • The Netherlands now has the world’s highest yields per hectare for cucumbers, chili peppers

  • and tomatoes; all carefully picked for their profitability.

  • Reducing water use is part of making efficiencies too - today some farms use just four litres

  • to grow a kilo of glasshouse tomatoes. The global average is 214 litres.

  • All this built on a rich culture of farming that already existed. The Dutch were master

  • breeders of plants and livestock and were a nation of traders thanks to the ports at

  • Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

  • The State built on this expertise to transform farming, including a focus on education and

  • research, as part of a holistic approach to benefiting the entire industry.

  • It hasn’t all been good though - The Dutch have been criticized for getting ahead with

  • over-intensive methods and using synthetic fertilizers to boost production.

  • Theyre now working to change this

  • In 1999 the country used more fertilizer than any other European country, spreading on average

  • 500 kilos per hectare. By 2014 though, the figure had more than halved.

  • By working together farmers, scientists, businesses and the state turned the Netherlands into

  • a world leader in modern farming.

  • Its knowledge and state of the art technology will be vital in tackling the future of a

  • rising global population, with billions more mouths to feed.

The Netherlands is a small country.

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オランダはいかにして食の革命を導いたか (How the Netherlands Led a Food Revolution)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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