Wageningen University and Research Centre is to partner with an Iranian institution to improve food safety now that trade barriers have been lifted.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (SBUMS) in Tehran and Wageningen UR will be signed on Jan. 29.
As a world leader in pistachio and saffron production, Iran is now interested in exporting to the European Union following the lifting of long-term trade sanctions as part of the nuclear deal with the West.
Now the boycott is over, Iran’s export campaign can expand with pistachios, dried fruits and saffron leading the charge. The country wants to further increase exports to international markets and therefore needs to focus on quality and safety standards.
Wageningen UR aims to help the country meet the standards applicable in the EU and other major trading partners.
The precise details of the cooperation will be shaped over the next few months, but will include training and passing on know-how with initial educational programs already kicking off for SBUMS employees in the Netherlands.
The Institute for Food Safety RIKILT is part of Wageningen and has extensive experience in training laboratories that work for national governments in more than 25 countries.
Iran is also working with other parts of Wageningen UR. For example, the Iranian government has requested a plan to improve agricultural production in Iran and advice on how to establish a water institute.
“By Western sanctions, the cooperation with Iran in recent years was at a low ebb,” says a Wageningen UR spokesperson.
“But there have always been educational links between the Iranian universities and Wageningen UR. We currently employ some 35 Iranian PhD candidates in Wageningen.”
The MoU with the Dutch university comes just a few days after an Iranian delegation visited Poland for trade talks in relation to importing pistachios, dried and fresh fruit.