‘Royal’ designation for 100-year-old NOFOTA

NOFOTA (Netherlands Oils, Fats and Oilseeds Trade Association) has been granted the ‘Royal’ designation by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander on the occasion of its 100th anniversary in October 2018. During the official Annual Dinner in the Hulstkamp Building in Rotterdam on Thursday, 18 April 2019, Ms A.C. (Annemarie) Keemink, who was appointed President NOFOTA on that very day, received - in the presence of over 600 representatives of kindred associations and members and the mayor of Rotterdam, Mr A. (Ahmed) Aboutaleb - the official Royal certificate from the King’s Commissioner in the Province of South Holland, Mr J. (Jaap) Smit. This certificate confirms the Royal Decree of 3 December 2018, whereby the right to use the ‘Royal’ designation has been granted to NOFOTA.

Defined objectives still current after 100 years
In his speech, Commissioner Jaap Smit referred to the fact that the hundred-year-old NOFOTA has actually not lost any of its rights to exist, because he said: ‘Most of the objectives drawn up in 1918 are still valid in 2019. It is about uniting the people and the organisations in the industry, about the development of standard contracts for trade, and about dispute resolution through arbitration.’ The development of new markets was an important objective in 1918; that has now been more than achieved. Jaap Smit on this: ‘Today, the sale and processing of vegetable and animal oils and fats are a worldwide concern. It is now no longer about searching for new geographic markets, but about encouraging innovation, which can of course also generate additional sales.’ The anniversary book published last summer had impressed him: ‘It is the story of specialist companies, dedicated entrepreneurs and motivated traders, who saw and still see the importance of cooperation.’ According to the Commissioner, the centenary of NOFOTA is therefore just a preliminary milestone: ‘A century of cooperation, establishing authority and thinking ahead is now behind us. To the next milestones, I would say.’

Congratulations, with a task
In his congratulatory speech, Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb emphasised the pioneering mentality of the Association: ‘The bond with Rotterdam is exceptionally strong. The efforts of the Rotterdam founders have enabled NOFOTA to grow to become an internationally respected contract body in the oils and fats chain. Our port plays a major role in the supply and processing of edible oils for the European food industry. The storage and transhipment facilities for vegetable and animal oils, fats and biofuels in the Port of Rotterdam are the largest in Europe.’ But an appeal was also heard in Mayor Aboutaleb’s reflective and complimentary words. After all, during multiple international working visits to colleagues in densely populated urban areas, such as in India, Mayor Aboutaleb has experienced first-hand the importance of assuring a structural, global food supply. ‘You also bear a huge responsibility in this respect; it is a task for the future,’ he confronted those present from all the affiliated member sectors.

Designation awarded as incentive for innovation and sustainability
Annemarie Keemink, NOFOTA’s first female president in its one-hundred-year existence, had earlier reflected in her opening speech on the rapidly changing market conditions and influences. In her Acceptance speech, she emphasised that she was extremely grateful for the award of the ‘Royal’ designation and sees this as an incentive to involve members to a greater extent in formulating a future-focused task and service package.