Dutch Minister Lilianne Ploumen impressed by horticultural partnership between the Netherlands and South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister, Ms Lilianne Ploumen (pictured right) has travelled to South Africa to boost (horticultural) trade. On her two-day visit to South Africa, the Minister is accompanied by a business delegation, including representatives of hothouse builder Bosman Van Zaal and Hoogendoorn, a leading supplier of automation solutions in horticulture.
At the start of her visit, on Monday July 7th, the Minister praised the strong relationship between the Netherlands and South Africa and pledged to make it stronger. Clearly impressed by the innovative approach of working together with local entrepreneurs, Ploumen underlined the importance of companies like Bosman Van Zaal, Hoogendoorn making horticulture technologies affordable and applicable for South African farmers such as lettuce grower Jomajoco
She announced also the official signing of an agreement with Jomajoco and a group of Dutch horticultural suppliers, amongst others Bosman Van Zaal and Hoogendoorn, to further develop innovations at Jomajoco’s new greenhouse. Jomajoco owner Johan van den Bosch and his business partner Gloria Ramahlodi prefer Dutch technology in order to comply with stringent requirements of Woolworths’ “Farming for the future” program. Mr. Sybrand Fourie, representative of Woolworths (South Africa’s largest supermarket chain) also joined the signing of the project kick-off meeting.
In co-operation with horticultural entrepreneurs, the “Farming for the future” program aims to produce vegetables in harmony with nature to ensure that African farms will be able to produce enough food for future generations. Significant emphasis is placed on limiting the use of resources and chemicals.
Jomajoco uses highly innovative technology to meet Woolworths high demands on quality and sustainability. For example lettuce undercover is not grown in the ground, but inside growing gutters. This means that less water and fertilizers are required for production. With use of the patented irrigation unit Cyclone by Bosman Van Zaal, carbonates can be removed from the water and in turn deliver a better mix of water and fertilizer. Experience has shown that this reduces fertilizer use by at least 10%.
The Hoogendoorn iSii process computer is used to control overall water management. This user-friendly system makes it possible to adjust the supply from various water sources to the needs of the plant. In addition, the iSii ensures that water not absorbed by the plants is collected, disinfected and reused. Thanks to recirculation and providing water exactly in accordance to the plant needs, Jomajoco has been able to achieve a considerable increase in yield per m2 and to decrease water use by 30% (compared to open field cultivation). Johan van den Bosch: “With the technology and support of Bosman and Hoogendoorn I am capable to deliver the best quality with efficient use of sources. I am confident that our next greenhouse will be a successful business too.”
Horticultural automation producer Hoogendoorn and protected Horticulture supplier partner Bosman Van Zaal have a wealth of experience in various African counties. Together with other Dutch suppliers they have been involved in a range of projects in Africa. Current large projects are the Water Management Demo project, Solar-powered Greenhouse project and Climate demo project in Naivasha, Kenya. The first results show impressive savings on water use (65%) and energy costs (40%) and increase of crop yields (20%).