ZLTO is the South Netherlands Farmers Organisation in the Netherlands. It is an association for entrepreneurs in rural areas, mostly farmers. We represent nearly 17,000 members, who we support both by means of advocacy, and by offering tailor-made advice for the set up of projects. We also participate in initiatives in the Zeeland, Brabant and South-Gelderland regions. Topics on the agenda include area-renewal, strengthening market position, sustainable entrepreneurship, knowledge creation, innovation, good employment and professional development of entrepreneurship. We stimulate cooperation, not only in terms of the links in a chain, but also with civil society, science and education and with sectors outside agriculture.

For entrepreneurs, several different market levels are relevant. One is the local market. There is increasing demand for regional products with their own story. This can be exploited using product development, knowledge improvement and marketing.

In our area of work, the province of Zeeland and the Brabantse Wal region are part of the Fish and Chips project. This area is attractive both in terms of its cuisine and its touristic allure. Organisations that build on this include the Delicious Regional Product Foundation, the Tasting May Foundation (organisers of the eponymous festival in Bergen op Zoom), the growers organisation Terra Scala, which is involved with the Zilte Hof test garden, and finally, ‘t Hof Welgelegen farm.

A few examples: improvement of products such as seaweed and development of new products (e.g. Zilte onion or an asparagus product with a longer shelf life); introduction of new crops at Zilte Hof with the Kromme Watergang restaurant; promotion of specific products, including goose meat and Thool potatoes; organisation of events such as Tasting May and Taste Week, featuring the presentation of the Hero of Zeeuw award; educational activities for primary school children; and workshops for growers.