Food security, water diplomacy and trade missions. Three different themes an agricultural attaché could encounter when working on a mission abroad, but for which specific knowledge is required. Representing Dutch agricultural interests abroad is a profession in its own right. For that reason, Clingendael has, since 2020, been organising an orientation training for agricultural attaches. This training programme aims to prepare participants for a potential posting as an agricultural attaché in a diplomatic mission abroad.
Ten enthusiastic participants from different departments within the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture (LNV) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) were selected to gain knowledge and insights relevant for the daily work practice of an agriculture attaché at an embassy or multilateral institution. The training took five days spread out over three weeks. During the first week, we focused on the strategic position and the network of an agriculture attaché. We also paid attention to Dutch top sectors such as agri-food, horticulture, and water. Through a network assignment we mapped what kind of companies, organizations and other contact persons are important within the working context.
The second week focused on both the European Union’s developments and policies and workshops on international negotiations and intercultural communications. In the last week we worked on practical skills, including effective presentation skills. The participants completed the course by doing an assignment and delivering a final pitch in which they placed themselves in the position of an entrepreneur and attaché. This was done under the watchful eye of some experienced agricultural attachés who shared useful tips and tricks within the group.
For those who decide to make the step to agricultural attaché, we at least know that the Dutch agricultural interests will be in capable hands.