4 years ago

The Partnership no. 11

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Cultivation
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Vegetables
  • Varieties
  • Growers
  • Peppers
  • Geothermal

Hand-in-hand with

Hand-in-hand with growers If you want to respond to this trend you have to make choices at the right time, and in a region as large as North America, with so many differences in population and conflicting trends, that’s not always easy. Van der Velden says that this is why it’s so important to be close to your customers, so that you’ll be able to spot trends and opportunities in time. “The past eight years our staff has doubled in size and we now have forty people working at Marketing & Sales alone. So we are ever more prominently present in the market, with close contacts with our customers. Indeed, we approach the chain hand-in-hand with the large growers, and this really works; we’ve seen that this approach makes the supermarkets ever more aware of the added value of good vegetables and of co-creation for their own business.” Breeding by design The number of hectares of heated greenhouses is constantly increasing. And this is not on account of the popularity of farming. On the contrary, progressively fewer young people are opting to become growers, leading to a scarcity of produce and high labour costs. The US has consequently become dependent on its neighbours Canada and Mexico to meet the growing demand for vegetables. No, the increase in the number of greenhouses is the result of Canadian growers establishing greenhouses in the US in addition to those in their home country. “There’s a growing demand for locally grown produce, for products bearing the ‘USA produced’ label. Canadian growers are responding to this by establishing greenhouses in United States, too, for production in the winter months. This enables them to offer produce of the same quality all the year round. We enter into partnerships at a high level with these key accounts, and they have already led to some promising long-term projects focusing on creating added value by breeding by design. Examples are the mini-conicals, the tasty open field beef tomatoes in Florida, and a brand-new project involving yellow squash with a good shelf life.” In North America for North America Ton van der Velden has been running our North American subsidiary since 2008. He is proud of what this branch has achieved the past few years: its function as a link between growers and the chain, a growing range of organic seed and an expanding product portfolio for North America. “Whereas the genetics we worked with in the past used to come from Europe, mostly the Netherlands and Spain, we are now breeding in North America for North America – crops such as onion, (processing) tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and open field sweet peppers and tomatoes, plus cucumbers in Mexico.” Strategic alliances “But I’m certainly also proud of the technical advice that we’re able to provide. We don’t simply look to see which seed we happen to have available, but actually talk to our customers to find out which variety may offer them the most added value. This is something you can only do with a good, broad team and successful distribution channels. Nowadays we work via direct sales in a large area. This enables us to take fast action. In other parts of North America it’s on the contrary more convenient to work with distributors. We have entered into strategic alliances with distributors who are able to offer specific added value, for example for organic seed, smaller growers in Mexico and certain crops. So we use different distribution channels for different customers and different crops.” Faith in the future The present trends imply sufficient opportunities for North America. The healthy food trend will cause the consumption of vegetables – especially organic ones – to increase further. And the segment of tasty produce will become ever more popular. “Along with the added value that our team is creating for the entire chain together with our key accounts and distributors this is creating loads of opportunities, so I have great faith in the future.” Awareness New growing techniques Although local-for-local is still only a small segment, it is steadily growing. Especially households that have a little more to spend like to know where products are produced and tend to opt for vegetables with a low CO² footprint. “Hydroponics and LED factories are entirely in line with this development,” says Senior Sales Representative Kees Rodenburg. “It’s still early days, but hydroponics and LED factories for urban farming are booming in North America, especially around the large cities. Not only because these forms of production keep the carbon footprint low, but certainly also because they provide an answer to the major threats of the scarcity of labour and water, which are an issue in California in particular. And, unlike traditional farming, these new, high-tech forms of horticulture do seem to interest young people, implying good prospects for the future.” US sales team members' devotion to salad bars at schools: Kees Rodenburg, Jonathan Sinclair and Freek Knol. Healthy food is a trend in North America, where ever more projects and initiatives are being launched to create salad bars in schools. “The constantly growing awareness and such school projects imply new opportunities for Enza Zaden,” says Freek Knol, National Sales Manager. “So it’s important for us to contribute towards them too. Last July we therefore participated in the ‘Tour de Fresh’, a collaborative cycling event that unites produce industry leaders and top brands to benefit the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, founded in part by the United Fresh Start Foundation. The goals of Tour de Fresh are a natural fit for our company and for our growers, as we work together to deliver premium vegetables and fruits to the US market. Children with greater access to fresh produce, and with greater awareness of its benefits, will become healthier adults. That’s a win-win for all of us”. 10 | The Partnership The Partnership | 11

Enza Zaden Brochures