Hein van der Sande opens Certhon Innovation Centre

"The Innovation Centre is going to teach us a lot"

On Thursday 31 May, the Certhon Innovation Centre was officially opened by Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador at the UN organizations for Food and Agriculture (FAO, WFP and IFAD) in Rome. With this center, the greenhouse builder responds to the need to produce food worldwide, in every place on earth and 365 days a year. There are more and more mouths to feed. Hein van der Sande: "The main aim is to achieve a significant increase in production."

Hein continued: "In addition, the water can be recirculated completely. Moreover, crop protection products are not needed if you cultivate in this manner. So this method of cultivation fits in perfectly with the policy of the supermarkets. Supermarkets are setting ever stricter requirements to the use of crop protection products. We have already learned a lot, but we're going to learn a lot more. We are going for it, and I look to the future with confidence."

The Innovation Centre is a 240 m2 greenhouse construction with insulation panels. Different cultivation methods and multi-layer cultivation are tested here. The cultivation is computer-controlled. And, last but not least, robots are going to be used. "Because that too is one of the aspects that makes progress worldwide: Technology will increasingly replace simple labor." 

In the Certhon Innovation Centre, research is being done into crops in which Certhon has expectations in various climates, humidity and light recipes. Hein van der Sande, CEO at Certhon: “With the knowledge we gain from the Innovation Centre, we can give our customers and partners optimal advice for maximum results. The first studies we started in the facility with herbs, tomato, sweet pepper, strawberry and raspberry plants already gave promising results and a delicious harvest!”

Certhon did not devise this alone. Philips, Rijk Zwaan, Delphy, Wageningen UR and Koppert Biological Systems are part of this project. Hein van der Sande: "We see opportunities for the future of Dutch horticulture. We are faced with a new challenge, and we are keen to take it on. Certhon's innovative genes recognize opportunities."

Mr. Hoogeveen, ambassador and permanent representative at the UN organizations for Food and Agriculture (FAO, WFP and IFAD) in Rome, addressed the audience: "It is a great honor to be standing here. We are proud of the Dutch horticulture sector. We notice that, everywhere in the world, Dutch horticulture is closely followed. Parties would like to cooperate with us on this level. We do not realize sufficiently the golden opportunities that this gives us. With the results of this center everyone can produce good and nutrition-rich food thanks to conditioned cultivation. There is a need for that. After all, more and more people are going hungry. Growers have the need to be supported globally. Especially the growers in Africa are badly in need of our support."

After the speeches of Van der Sande and Hoogeveen, the guests were given the opportunity to head to the Innovation Centre. Explanations, questions and admiration all over.

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