NZ has the ability, we now need investment!
Recently I had a post sent to my LinkedIn. It highlights the amount of research the Dutch greenhouse industry are investing into what they firmly believe is one of the ways humans may (will) feed large parts of the world more efficiently and sustainably. For many years the Dutch have been exporting their greenhouse knowledge and technology, this has seen them become the ‘All Blacks’ of the greenhouse horticulture world.
In New Zealand we definitely do not lack the knowledge. I believe we have some of the best growers in the world, growing in some very high-tech modern structures. However, we definitely lack the training and educational facilities. For example, in Victoria, Australia they have the Chisholm Institute, which have their own high-tech greenhouse teaching facilities with, scaled down, state of the art greenhouse structures and equipment. They also run training courses including a crop technicians’ course, an introduction to computerised greenhouse control systems and commercial crop production amongst others.
I would love to see, in New Zealand, a high-tech training facility because we need to keep up with this technology and explore the huge opportunities the greenhouse industry is creating. Like the Dutch we also have the expertise to export our knowledge and products. FTEK are a perfect example of leading the world in greenhouse high trolley and spray equipment innovation. The unique geographical position we find ourselves in may be seen as a negative but I only see opportunity for NZ. If we do not explore these opportunities then we run the risk of falling behind, losing any competitive export edge we may have and that has been driven partly by private investment. We certainly need to be competitive, produce extremely high-quality sustainable food that makes a profit! Technology is key. Greenhouses are key!!
Cover photo of a Dutch greenhouse with all the bells and whistles for optimum production.
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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower
Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower