During the Dutch trade mission to South Africa on July 7, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen, was full of praise on the cooperation of Dutch horticultural suppliers with local entrepreneurs. In her speech she mentioned the most sustainable lettuce farm of South Africa, Jomajoco, as an excellent example. She is enthusiastic on how e.g. Bosman Van Zaal and Hoogendoorn have contributed to a sustainable and food-safe production by bringing in advanced technology that is fitted to local conditions.
During Minister Ploumen’s trade mission to South Africa, she announced 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.
Food safety and food security
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. In her speech Minister Ploumen expressed her enthusiasm about the way Dutch companies are able to adjust to local needs and co-operate in consortium to carry out sustainable projects. She was also full of praise on the application of sustainable cultivation methods at Jomacojo. This view is supported by Mr Sybrand Fourie.
“Together we are all working on a healthy, food-safe and environmentally friendly production,” he said.
Optimum mix of water and fertilisers
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 fertilisers 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 fertiliser. Experience has shown that this reduces fertiliser use by at least 10%.
Increase of crop yields
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).
“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,” said Johan van den Bosch.
Wealth of experience
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%).
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Posted 9 July 2014