We want to show that the horticultural sector does its utmost

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Wouter Kuiper, KUBO:

“Our CO₂-negative greenhouse simply uses the open air to supply plants with CO₂. Currently, this is often injected,” Wouter Kuiper from KUBO told BNR Radio. “This solution resulted from the pressure of European regulations in response to climate change. We want to show that the horticultural sector does its utmost.”

Glasshouse horticulture not to be shut down
Wouter disputes the idea that greenhouse horticulture should disappear because of its high energy consumption in a densely populated area. “After all, we also supply more than 15 percent electricity to the grid,” he said. Some 80-90 percent of the products are exported. “This should not be a reason to shut down the sector in the Netherlands. What could be tastier and healthier than vegetables from your own backyard?”, Wouter wonders.

Wouter has to share whether he finds the reduction of migrant workers a positive or a negative development. He finds that it is dramatic, but brings in the nuance that the Netherlands cannot do without migrant workers. “We are such a prosperous and highly educated country that we cannot find staff who want to work in the greenhouse. This is more often seen in prosperous countries. We need migrant workers to do the work in our greenhouses.”

Manual work
Wouter further argues that greenhouse work will always involve manual work. “Some growers can smell whether there is a shortage of moisture in a greenhouse. A computer will not be able to do that in the next 10 years. It will take another 20 years before fully autonomous cultivation is possible. Of course, we can supplement manual work with robots, but they generally have a lot of trouble with picking and that kind of work.”

In China, importing greenhouses is discouraged. Wouter: “We are therefore also trying not to sell or build any more greenhouses in that country. We are now looking at what we can get from China.”

Those interested can listen to Wouter on BNR here from the 34:00 minute mark (in Dutch).

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