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The Agrifood Hub

The Agrifood Hub focuses on fulfilling today’s and tomorrow’s demand for food on a global scale, safeguarding scarce resources, developing  innovative solutions and realizing sustainable business driven value chains. Taking into account the long term societal and environmental challenges while keeping in mind the short term limitations of a competitive environment and fixed investments.

The global population is growing and urbanizing, the amount of food that needs to be produced until 2050 equals the amount of food produced by organized agriculture from the start. Already a lot of pressure on the sustainability of our food system is being laid. The challenge is not only an increase in production, but also a transformation into a sustainable system, from definition, design to implementation. Long term goals regarding production methods until consumption patterns have to be achieved under short term restrictions.

Concepts like regenerative agriculture or carbon credits can act as basic fundaments of a sustainable food system or create parts of a system that will take natural capital into account besides financial. Such holistic approaches are still in a conceptual or even design phase. Agriculture has seen many transitions in its long history. Changing environments gave agriculture the upside or the downside and forced it to adapt. The upside of the fossil era seems now at its end, and agriculture needs to adapt to new values will it arise again.

The Dutch within the European Context

The Dutch Agrifood sector at the beginning of the 21the century is faced with the limitations of its own success. Confronted with societal and environmental pressures, the second exporter of Agrifood products in the world has to change its paradigm in order to keep its license to produce. The space for high input-driven agriculture is limited given its repercussions on biodiversity, clean water and air (nitrogen and pesticide emissions. Although the Dutch Agrifood industry has been developing on the path of sustainable production, in the end, the availability of resources is limited. The growing urban population (and activities) has a conflict of interest with the farmers claiming to feed the cities. Agrifood value chains will have to become transparent and sustainable, new values need to be standardized and financially rewarded.

LDE Themes and Strategy

An Agrifood System (or network) can be described as a value chain. Every part of the value chain has its own characteristics and needs. The broad spectrum of knowledge within LDE creates relevance throughout this complete chain.

(1)Soil-(2)Breeding-(3)Growing-(4)Processing-(5)Logitics-(6)Retail/Foodservice-(7)Consumption

Key conceptual frameworks from LDE perspective are: Frugal Innovation, Sustainability, Internationalization, Competitive Advantage, Autonomous Growing, Regenerative Agriculture, Scenario Analysis, Value Chain Management, Global South, Exploration vs. Exploitation.

These conceptual frameworks are translated into the following concrete themes:

  • Scenario Analysis
  • Protein Transition
  • Vertical Farming
  • Carbon Credit / Natural Capital Accounting
  • Health from Soil to Stomach
  • Food Delivery and Consumption Retail and Foodservice
  • Agrologistics and Networks
  • Global South, digital platforms

What can you expect as a student?

  • Research cases that are directly connected to real sustainablity challenges from companies
  • Access to the network of the Topsector Horticulture (TKI TU). 
  • Bi-weekly meetings with you fellow hub-students and the coordinator. 
  • Excursions and guest lectures.

More Information


Coen Hubers

Interested to collaborate with the Agrifood Hub or take part in a graduation lab? Contact Contact Coen Hubers (Coordinator Agrifood Hub): C.G.W.Hubers@tudelft.nl
Location: World Horti Center Naaldwijk

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