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Italy: Rijk Zwaan inaugurates second Trial Station

A commercial offer cannot be successful without direct experience: it's not possible to sell seeds from a catalogue. This is why Rijk Zwaan's Italian and Dutch management have inaugurated a second Trial Station, located in Latina. 

Clients, partners and journalists attended the inauguration as well as the entire Rijk Zwaan Italia's sales network. Rijk Zwaan Italia Managing Director, Alessandro Silvestrelli, explained that this is the second stage of a development plan in Italy, which is showing great potential. The first station was opened a year ago in Santa Croce Camerina. A third will be opened in Emilia-Romagna in 2018.
Cutting the ribbon. Left to right, the three Rijk Zwaan directors: Domingo Lopez-A Perez, Alessandro Silvestrelli and Kees Reinink.

Rijk Zwaan places 40% of its human resources in R&D and employs molecular biologists, geneticists, breeders and seed technology experts. But it's not enough. "We want to test all our varieties in the same conditions in which operators work, so we can meet all their needs," explains Silvestrelli.

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Alessandro Silvestrelli, Managing Director of Rijk Zwaan Italia.

Over the past 10 years, Rijk Zwaan's Italian branch gained the trust of an increasing number of operators - not only producers, but distributors as well. The company can provide much more than simple agronomic assistance or help with choosing the most suitable varieties, as Rijk Zwaan also pays attention to the developments, trends and changing needs of the market. A Retail Point Center (photo below) was in fact set up in the Latina Trial Station, where suitable shelving solutions are on display.

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Managing Director (R&D) Kees Reinink explained that Rijk Zwaan was established in 1924. Ever since the beginning, Mr. Zwaan produced seeds to improve the production of growers and provided useful advice on how to obtain higher yields. This spirit of combining seeds with service has remained unchanged over the decades. Reinink also stresses that the board has no intention of selling the group for mergers, despite the current trends in the seed sector.  
Kees Reinink. The name of professor Hugo de Vries can be read in the background: he was the Dutch scientist who coined the term "gene". 

Alessandro Silvestrelli then thanked Daniele Marangoni, from a family of growers in Agro Pontino that made available an area where 23 thousand hectares of greenhouses were installed, as well as 5 thousand square metres of open fields. All the greenhouses are high-tech with state-of-the-art irrigation systems and separate areas for the different crops. The two biggest greenhouses cover 11,000 square metres, while the third covers 4,000 square metres.

All the main varieties suitable for local growing conditions will be tested here. Trial officer Federico Denim says that "we will grow everything, from watermelons to courgettes". Up until 10 years ago, Rijk Zwaan Italia was considered a leading company only for lettuce and kohlrabi, but the assortment has grown and now covers 80% of the vegetables that can be cultivated in Italy. In the future, the company will start new breeding and experimentation lines for asparagus, radicchio, fennel and other products. 

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Federico Demin with some of the varieties on display at the Retail Point Center in Latina.

Experimental stations are an occasion to grow and increase one's knowledge. Furthermore, they are a place to meet clients to discover all their needs and to experiment with new horticulture frontiers. Next year, for example, the Sicilian Trial Station will start some soil-less cultivation tests. 

"Latina's Trial Station is the perfect example of the fact that Rijk Zwann wants to continue investing in Italy. In addition, it is located in a perfect area for European clients and can be considered a point of reference for clients along the entire chain."

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The construction of the new facility in Italy.

"I would like to thank the people who made this day possible and who will continue to work to provide a good service to our clients. Our role will be that of keeping you constantly updated through all the means available, among which is an app called Partner Rijk Zwaan. It wouldn't be possible to do all this without you - your opinion counts and we cannot grow if we don't hear your voice. Your input is necessary to focus our research, so please do come visit often and tell us what you'll need in the future."

For further information:
Rijk Zwaan Italia
Tel.: (+39) 051 729448

Publication date: 3/20/2017



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