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Joost Pekelharing, East-West Seed: more willing to try greenhouse cultivation

"Asia: "Development of high-tech horticulture in Southeast Asia will take another 20 years"

Horticulture in Southeast Asia is developing rapidly. "But before we see large-scale operations in high-tech greenhouses, we’ll be living at least twenty years in the future,” says Joost Pekelharing, CEO of East-West Seed.

A visit to Ewindo.

Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs Dijksma inspects vegetables produced by Ewindo through a microscope.

East-West Seed has been focusing on tropical crops for nigh-on thirty years and operates throughout Southeast Asia. For the Indonesian market, along with Enza Zaden, the company established East-West Seed Indonesia (Ewindo). The joint venture is now entirely run by Indonesians.

Indonesian market
Since its founding in 1990, Ewindo bred over 150 varieties. Tomatoes are important, but also sweet corn, peppers and chili peppers are great products. "Even as a vegetable sopropo is a huge product in Asia," says Pekelharing. "It is eaten in all Asian countries, from Iran to Papua New Guinea. They are beautiful products.”

The cultivation in Indonesia is predominantly low-tech. "It has taken a long time before growers were used to buying seeds, as growers are a conservative breed. But we got them to do it in the end.” Today, plenty of seed is purchased and the production level has increased slightly. Research by the LEI shows that these developments bring income up to 3500 percent.

Produce by Ewindo.

Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs Dijksma viewing tomato variety Servo F1. The variety is resistant to the Gemini Virus.

South East Asia
Not only in Indonesia but throughout Southeast Asia there’s horticultural development. "There are more and more growers willing to try greenhouse cultivation. Greenhouses that are not as we know them, but simple, plastic coverings, making them less dependent on weather and rain," notes Pekelharing. Also, technical development is on the rise, for example by the use of drip irrigation. "Water is a problem, especially in dry seasons. Growers see the value and progress." In the region, Thailand is one of the forerunners. In the country there are some high-tech greenhouses, and this year's horticultural trade show Horti Asia took place in Bangkok for the second time. "We’re getting there,” Pekelharing concludes, “but it’s one step at a time."

More information:
Joost Pekelharing
East-West Seed International Ltd.
No. 50/1 Moo 2, Sainoi-Bang Bua Thong Rd
Amphur Sainoi, Nonthaburi 11150 THAILAND
Tel : +66 (02) 831 7700
Fax : +66 (02) 923 7794
E-mail :