19 July 2016

Toespraak tijdens de boomplantceremonie in Heist-op-den-Berg

Welcome to the province of Antwerp. Welcome to this exchange project. We are very pleased to welcome you, young and innovative farmers, in this horticulture business, here in Heist-op-den-Berg.

In a world where borders are often rigid, the ambition is to look beyond them. You have chosen to come to the region of Antwerp, which is of course a good choice. Due tot our impressive diversity, our high levels of education and research and our many innovative companies such as the company where we are today, the province of Antwerp is an excellent region to deal with.

Furthermore the province of Antwerp is the economically most important province of Flanders, standing for 1/3 of the Flemish Bruto Regional Product. In the province of Antwerp, agriculture and horticulture are intensive and specialized. They count for almost 20% of the companies in the province, with many links in other economic sectors, at home and abroad.

In short, you are standing on a fertile ground. Not only for the plant which we are stabbing into the ground today. But also for you. We have great knowledge to share and new opportunities to start. We can make you a better farmer and together we can make a better business.

The province of Antwerp, and myself in front, we believe in the benefits of knowledge exchange en co-operation. That’s why we are here today and why we are finance a part of this experience. Now it’s up to you all to make it work!

I wish you a good learning experience and some very exciting days. I hope these days can be a start of further co-operations between horticultural organizations all over Europe. Preferably with these of the provincie of Antwerp included.

Have a nice time! And hopefully…see you again soon!