The Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association ‘Het Comité’ was founded by Rotterdam grain traders in 1872. From the start it was clearly an association focusing on commercial importers, for whom trading imported grain was a priority. The Nieuwe Waterweg (“New Waterway”), which provided an excellent connection between the port of Rotterdam and the sea, was opened around the same time as ‘Het Comité’ was founded. This, in combination with various economic developments in Western Europe at the end of the 19th century, meant Rotterdam rapidly became the major distribution centre for grain in Western Europe. 

The fact that Rotterdam was the main distribution centre for grain attracted all kinds of related activities, including the grain futures market. German customers were highly reliant on supplies coming in via the port of Rotterdam and so, for contracts, had to cooperate with the Rotterdam grain trade. The Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association, where policy was largely determined by the commercial importers, was the obvious party to be appointed to manage international contracts and the related arbitration institute. Over time, ‘Het Comité’ increasingly gained a coordinating role and, by proving able to keep pace with developments in the market, and became the most important international grain trade association in Western Europe. 

Although it started out as a commercial organisation of importers, ‘Het Comité’ has since evolved into a representative organization that also takes the interests of industrial seed, feed and oilseed processors into account. The current membership clearly reflects this major change, as does ‘Het Comité’s’ involvement in societal discussions on environmental issues, the quality of raw materials and genetically modified raw materials.

Over the years ‘Het Comité’ has undergone several mergers, most recently its merger in 2000 with the Association of the Amsterdam Grain Trade (“Vereniging Amsterdamse Graanhandel”, or “VAG”), followed by the merger in 2001 with the Federation of Dutch Traders in Grains, Seeds and Pulses (“Federatie van Nederlandse Handelaren in Granen, Zaden en Peulvruchten”, or “Federatie GZP”).