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Why growing blueberries in a protected environment is the super right thing to do now

How can we grow more blueberries in hot climates and keep up with demand? That’s a question Netafim is going to be tackling at Greentech Amsterdam 2018.

Superfood with super demand
As everyone knows, superfoods are nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables full of anti-aging antioxidants. Among these, berries seem to attract the most attention, thanks in part to its attractive health benefits. Multiple studies that have shown that eating a daily serving of berries has the potential to lower blood pressure and lower heart attack risk. In fact, in the United States berries account for around 20% of all fruit sales and the global berry market is projected to grow by 4.2% in the near future.

A sensitive crop that needs a sophisticated solution
Despite the huge interest in the berry farming and production industry, berries remain a challenging crop to produce. Berries are sensitive crops associated with cool climates and specific growing protocols. Even though several varieties have been adapted to warmer climates it is still difficult to move production to warmer climates while increasing productivity. Berry production carry other challenges as well, such as specific irrigation requirements, sensitivity to diseases and pests and low yields associated with open-field farming practices. 

Creating an optimal growing environment for blueberries  
Vegtech, a Netafim subsidiary, recently implemented the OptiGrow polyhouse to meet these challenges head-on. OptiGrow is a cost-effective structure designed with specific requirements of berry crops in mind. It can withstand wind speeds of up to 100 km/h and features excellent ventilation capabilities plus movable shading screens that assist the farmer in creating a stable environment in which bee pollination helps to increase yields and berry size.

The 4ha OptiGrow structure was constructed by Vegtech for the Lebombo Group and is located in Lankgele in the Western Cape of South Africa. The structure is complemented by automatic filters, a NetaJet 3G dosing system, a Netafim drip irrigation system and a UV water treatment system - all integrated and managed by Netafim’s latest Crop Management Technology (CMT).

OptiGrow is giving farmers more control over their berry crop, even in hot climates, while delivering high quality and high quantity yields season after season.

Want to grow your business?  Come to the session on Tuesday 12th June at 11:00 at the Crop Theater. 
Watch the video of this project at the Netafim booth 12.323 during Greentech 12-14.6.2018. 

For more information: 

Publication date: 6/8/2018



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