5 years ago

The Partnership no. 7

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Tomatoes
  • Varieties
  • Consumers
  • Breeding
  • Products
  • Cultivation

Top 3 Open field summer

Top 3 Open field summer vegetables 1. Iceberg 2. Radish 3. Spinach Greenhouse 2013 1. Tomatoes 2. Corn salad 3. Cucumbers Vegetable consumption: expenditure per household 2013 1. Tomatoes 2. Sweet peppers 3. Asparagus Local-for-local These aren’t the only developments that are currently taking place on the German market. Social media and the Internet connect consumers all over the world. In spite of these developments, German world citizens also like to focus on their local community and contribute towards their local economy. This, combined with the desire to reduce the carbon footprint, has greatly boosted the demand for regional produce – what is referred to as local-for-local – in the past two to three years: products that are produced close to home and go straight from the land to the shops. Whereas farmers in the colder northern parts of the country used to grow mostly iceberg lettuce, the cultivation of products that were traditionally grown in the warmer south, such as radish, spring onions and corn salad, has increased. And the other way round, iceberg lettuce is now also grown in the southern federal states, alongside the usual range of vegetables. The products’ packagings nowadays even specify whether they were grown in the state concerned. “All this means that we had to adapt our varieties to make them suitable for cultivation under different climate conditions. The greatest distance from the very north of Germany to the south is just over 875 kilometres, that from the east to the west is 640 kilometres. Needless to say such distances imply substantial differences in conditions, especially for produce grown outdoors. The local-for-local trend has led to a considerable increase in greenhouse cultivation, but in Germany outdoor cultivation still prevails in absolute terms. The varieties that are grown today have meanwhile been improved so much that they can be cultivated anywhere in Germany to meet the local-for-local demand.” Foreign influences In spite of its popularity, local production is not sufficient to feed Germany’s more than eighty million occupants. So the country is largely dependent on imports, especially greenhouse vegetables from Spain and the Netherlands. Flörchinger: “The leading crops in Germany are onions and carrots, closely followed by lettuce. Moreover, we see foreign influences increasingly supplementing our traditional crops.” Those influences come mostly from the neighbouring countries. For example, in Germany you now find large-scale production of corn salad, which originated in France. And Italian influences are evident in the different types of tomato that are now available, and in basil, fennel, flat-leaved parsley and rocket. Flörchinger: “The cultivation of rocket in particular has really boomed the past few years and it’s now a top ten crop in Germany. It started with the import of rocket from Italy, but Germany is now the third market for this crop, after Italy and the United States. And it’s still growing.” Part of the production is exported to Scandinavia and the Netherlands, like that of radish and other herbs, but the consumption of this herb has increased substantially in Germany itself, too. The long cultivation season and competitive professional cultivation have caused German exports to expand considerably this century.” Innovative capacity Germany is still the no-nonsense country where hard work and the value of the euro are key concerns. But even this country is susceptible to present-day trends, whether that concerning diversification in the range of vegetables at supermarkets, the demand for locally grown produce or influences from foreign countries. These factors may not have changed the traditional German outlook all that much, but they definitely have expanded it. And all this of course has consequences for the innovative capacity of breeding companies working together as chain partners and consulting one another about product concepts. They must also ensure that varieties are improved to make them suitable for cultivation under different climate conditions. Flörchinger: “We maintain close contacts with all the links in the chain – growers, traders, retailers and consumers – to ensure that we are flexible enough to respond adequately to market trends.” Exporting product ideas The idea of growing rocket in Germany itself proved a success. Germany not only successfully imports product ideas, but exports them too, as Enza Zaden Germany proved with its Hokkaido pumpkin. Together with Vitalis, the supplier of organic seed of the variety Orange Summer, this company played a pivotal role in the introduction of this edible pumpkin in France and northern Italy, which have embraced the small orange pumpkin as a seasonal novelty in autumn. The chestnut-shaped pumpkin is healthy and tasty, with the added advantage that its skin can also be eaten. 10 | The Partnership The Partnership | 11

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