The Dutch government announced that it will be earmarking € 60 million ($ 65.4 million), to support the formation of an ecosystem around cellular agriculture, which is the technology to produce animal products like milk and meat directly from cells. It represents the largest public funding into the cellular agriculture field ever, globally. The funding is awarded under conditions by the National Growth Fund, which aims to create structural economic growth by investing in the public domain to support innovative economic sectors.
This financial impulse represents a first step towards funding a larger growth plan proposing to invest € 252 – € 382 mln in cellular agriculture, specifically stimulating cellular agriculture education, academic research, publicly accessible scale-up facilities, societal integration (including farmers and consumers) and innovation. The broader growth plan is projected to generate an incremental €10 – €14 billion in Dutch GDP growth per year by 2050, with significant global climate, environmental and health benefits. For example avoiding ~12 Mton CO2-eq. emissions and 100-130 kton ammonia per year in 2050.
The Growth Fund Committee said about cellular agriculture “Although the products are not yet on the shelves, the science is promising and the first companies are already active. The committee is pleased with the potential and the parties involved”.
The proposal for funding was made by a newly created consortium of 12 organisations (academia, NGOs, startups, industry) called Cellular Agriculture Netherlands. The group is currently shaping the executive teams and governance structure to start executing the proposed growth plan, under conditions as outlined by the committee. The funds are expected to become available towards the end of 2022. The team will also reach out to potential partners in the Netherlands for execution of the programs.
“We are very excited for the visionary leadership the Dutch government is demonstrating again,” said Ira van Eelen, on behalf of the Dutch Cellular Agriculture Foundation. “The Netherlands is the ideal place for cellular agriculture to flourish. It has a rich history in laying the global foundations of cellular agriculture. It is a global powerhouse in alternative protein and food innovation. It has a global frontrunner position in biotechnology and agriculture. It is the 2nd biggest exporter of traditional agricultural products in the world. And let’s not forget, it was the first country to publicly fund cultivated meat research and present the first proof of concept hamburger to the world. This is a great way to grow sustainably whilst our growth is currently under pressure.”
The Netherlands has a strong history of innovating food production. This public investment in cellular agriculture is a demonstration of the Dutch government’s commitment to building an agricultural ecosystem that is healthy and sustainable. In combination with reforms to traditional farming, cellular agriculture can be an additional tool to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for protein.
“Cultured meat is a fast-growing industry and it’s important to invest and support education and research across all areas from universities to research labs as well as informing the wider population about this dynamic industry. This is an exciting next step in the development of the cellular agriculture ecosystem, supporting this innovative new industry like so many other emerging industries before it, and one that will be beneficial to us all.”Daan Luining, founder and CTO with Meatable
While individual cellular agriculture companies have been successful in attracting private funding, the Growth Fund financing is explicitly aiming to support the public part of the ecosystem. The expectation is that this impulse will attract more companies, more funding, and more collaboration across the cellular agriculture field in and with The Netherlands over the next few years. This announcement is not changing the process individual companies have to follow to obtain regulatory approval to sell their products, which is the European Novel Foods procedure.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL GROWTH FUND
With the National Growth Fund the Dutch government will earmark € 20 billion over the next five years for project investments in three fields which have the highest potential for structural and durable economic growth. For more information, see https://www.nationaalgroeifonds.nl/english
ABOUT CELLULAR AGRICULTURE NETHERLANDS
Cellular Agriculture Netherlands is a consortium of Dutch universities, startups, NGOs, and value chain partners including BPF, CE Delft, DSM, KindEarth.Tech, Meatable, Mosa Meat, Nutreco, Planet B.io, RESPECTfarms, SDG NL, Those Vegan Cowboys, TU Delft, Unilever and WUR. They have received support from over 40 organisations like regional development boards, educational institutions, supermarkets and food producers (ranging from individual farmers, to global multinationals), all dedicated to creating a viable, sustainable cellular agriculture sector inside and outside of the Netherlands. For more information, visit en.cellulaireagricultuur.nl.