In addition to the construction of high-tech greenhouses, there is also a large market in China for the ‘midtech’ segment. These are small horticultural companies that invest in, for example, a simple climate computer. “From no automation to mid-tech cultivation is a huge step forward,” says Fulco Wijdooge. As General Manager of Ridder China, he is active in market development. In doing so, he works closely with Dutch Greenhouse Delta in China.
The covered cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers is in great swing all over China. “This varies from very large-scale high-tech greenhouses to small-scale companies, which are developing strongly technically. High-quality Venlo greenhouses are emerging, but the acreage of tunnel greenhouses for the cultivation of soft fruit, for example, is still growing rapidly,” says Fulco Wijdooge. The general manager of Ridder China in Shanghai says that the large Asian country has a strong drive to become more self-sufficient in food production. Since 2015, Wijdooge has been working at the Chinese branch of the Dutch supplier of solutions in climate technology, water technology and ICT. Ridder is one of the partners in Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD), and Wijdooge is indirectly involved in DGD’s activities in China.
“Initially, we were mainly involved in larger high-tech projects. However, our attention is increasingly focused on the mid-tech market, where we see a lot of growth opportunities, also for other Dutch horticultural suppliers.” With this market he refers to smaller, mostly existing family businesses of 1 to 3 hectares in size, which are taking the first steps in climate control and automation of their cultivation. “It’s about investing in the simplest climate computers and irrigation units. They are cheaper and easier to operate. These investments are feasible for such growers and can be used efficiently in their crops. Where there is not much knowledge, these are welcome tools,” he explains.