4 years ago

The Partnership no. 8

  • Text
  • Products
  • Lettuce
  • Partnership
  • Enza
  • Varieties
  • Vegetables
  • Zaden
  • Growers
  • Vegetable
  • Markets

and opportunities. “We

and opportunities. “We have to invest a lot of time, attention and money in that, because we have to evaluate new varieties under different conditions,” he says. “To see how they do by themselves, and also in relation to existing varieties.” Sharing best practices around the globe Column Most varieties are at their best for only part of the season. Sometimes a grower will know that beforehand, at other times it will become apparent in the field. “During one or more seasons we evaluate all relevant aspects, such as susceptibility to diseases, uniformity, yields and flavour. If we have something that’s really novel we invite customers to come and inspect and taste the variety.” In the world of vegetables, generations come and go in ever-quicker succession. A trend many of you growers and traders will recognise. In society too, we are also witnessing successive waves of groups and communities that adapt their behaviour, including eating patterns, to embrace the possibilities offered by technology and the demands imposed by a changing environment. Partnership Yding Grønt doesn’t admit any new varieties to its standard cropping plan until they have been thoroughly screened and evaluated. Flink expects his seed suppliers to fully understand and respect his wishes and working method, to ensure that the trials will proceed as efficiently as possible. “New varieties are as good as the added value they can offer us,” he explains. “We don’t have the time or money to test everything that’s new. We have to be able to take the right decisions as quickly as possible. So we need partners with excellent knowledge of both our company and our market. The number of seed companies that fit that bill is small. Enza Zaden is most definitely one of them. The company has a good position in the field of leafy crops and has over the years shown that it continuously ranks among the top companies of its kind. Their rocket is always good and the primed seeds give the varieties added value because they enable faster and very uniform germination. What’s more, Enza Zaden provides expert cultivation advice with which we can get the best out of their varieties.” 30 | The Partnership The Yding Seedmat, the seeds are supplied in rolls, clamped between two layers of paper. Yding Seedmat Flink is also enthusiastic about the Yding Seedmat concept. The seeds are then supplied in rolls, clamped between two layers of paper at the right plant distances. You simply roll them out in the field and cover them with a thin layer of sand. “The great advantage of this is that we can grow our crops entirely free of weeds. It’s our policy never to use herbicides, so you can imagine that this implies added value for us.” For younger generations, internet has opened up a completely new, virtual universe that embodies the essence of their social behaviour and transcends geographical barriers to enable friendships all over the world. For the first time in the history of humankind, communities of like-minded people have sprung up all over the globe linked by the worldwide web, sharing beliefs and also practical matters such as recipes. Peer to peer social networking websites like couchsurfing enable these groups to meet in person. Strikingly, the younger generation is extremely interested in the physical production processes, and probably thanks to the impact of the virtual world, attaches a high value to local produce. They are also keen to know the story behind the producer, and interested in how products or produce are manufactured or grown, and want to try them at home. Maybe they will try a ‘Brew your own’ beer kit from the local microbrewery, or have a go at growing vegetables or herbs at home in the garden or on the balcony. When adopting the role of ‘grower’, many younger consumers aim for convenience and a quick harvest. Plants are sold already bearing mini fruit, and quick-growing sprouts and cress simply need sowing in the growing medium supplied. However, this group also likes to work ‘from scratch’. Using internet to track down the best seed, reading blogs, discussing best practices with new friends and sharing the results in uploaded photos and films. Young hobby growers are proud of the fruits of their labour and happy to share their expertise with everyone. How should professional growers deal with this transparency regarding production methods? Responding can give a dynamic extra impulse to a nursery or farm. Playing an active role on internet will not suit everyone, but is maybe something better coordinated by the marketing association that growers are affiliated to. The question then facing the association is whether they have something interesting to say bottomup from the production perspective, or whether to work from the consumer-driven perspective by presenting an appealing story line. Ideally, this should be translated into so-called product concepts, based on specifically selected seed and growing instructions , supported by an appropriate logo. Where do you begin? Or do you collaborate with other players in the supply chain? This is an interesting issue that is occupying the minds of many at the moment. Hans Verwegen is a marketing analyst in fresh produce with 35 years experience from seed to fork. Consumer and retail research have played an important role during his career. Nowadays he works as a Market Researcher for Enza Zaden. The Partnership | 31

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