Eight policy officers from various ministries and agencies took part in the first training for Aspiring Agricultural Attachés. This training is meant for those civil servants who want to explore options for an international career or have already been selected for secondment as agricultural attachés. Clingendael organized this training on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture (LNV). Due to Covid-19, this training was partly conducted online, but did include some real live sessions at the Clingendael Institute, which allowed participants to practice their diplomatic skills.
The export of Dutch agrifood products reached a new record high with 94,5 billion euro in 2019, and Dutch agricultural knowledge and innovation is worldwide also highly in demand. It should come as no surprise that today almost every Dutch embassy has an Agricultural Attaché among its diplomatic staff. These approx. 130 attachés support Dutch agrifood companies and entrepreneurs in their international ambitions. In their daily work, they maintain relations with key players in the field of agriculture and nature, including agrifood companies, knowledge institutes and NGO’s. Networking behind the scenes, informing businesses about opportunities and opening doors for them are but some of the activities that make up the core work of the Agricultural Attaché.
During the training the participants gained more insights in this playing field and dived into topics ranging from the EU Common Agricultural Policy to the sustainability of supply chains, and from the Dutch ‘’Top sectors” to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO. They also optimized their international skills in negotiating, intercultural communication and network mapping. As a showpiece on the final day, the participants did a real-life role-play and engaged in pitches, at turns representing a Dutch entrepreneur or Agricultural Attaché in Ukraine or Indonesia.
Four participants will be able to put their newly acquired knowledge and skills directly into practice, as they are about to start in their new post as Agricultural Attaché later this year. We wish them and the other course participants success in their future international endeavours!