From left to right: Ties Verbaarschot, Laura Zhchorodna, Jac Dings, Jos Suelman, Jeroen Geven.
Cucumber growers from the Netherlands and Almería, Spain, encounter each other regularly on the European market. But how do the Spanish growers work? What are their thoughts about aspects like quality? Where and how will they be selling their products next season? What problems are they experiencing this season?
All these questions matter for the sales of Dutch cucumbers. For this reason, the Dutch cooperative cucumber trading house Kompany asked Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds to organize a visit to Almería for a number of cucumber growers. Over the course of a few days in Almería, the Dutch growers visited large and small growing companies, the auction, and the region's largest cooperative.
A huge region
Almería has seen its horticulture sector make massive strides in professionalism over the past decades. And those developments are still going on: The land area is increasing and the infrastructure is constantly improving.
But Spanish growers could still work more efficiently. There are also significant differences from one grower to the next. "No two fields looked the same - one grower had an old crop, while the next had young plants," says Dutch cucumber grower Jeroen Geven.
The growers who were visited as part of the trip were dealing with a lot of downy mildew this season. But the companies visited were just a random sample. Ties Verbaarschot says, "Almería is a massive region, measuring approximately 27,000 hectares. We visited a lot of companies, but we probably saw less than 1% of the total area cultivated."
Knowing what others are doing
The trip to Almería wasn't just educational - it was also fun and delicious, because the Dutch growers also got to experience the Spanish eating habits. Brenda van Diejen, Sales Specialist Cucumber at Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds, says, "It's good that everyone now has more insight into how their Spanish colleagues work. It's becoming more and more important to know what others in your field are doing, so that you can adapt your strategy where needed."
It's possible that similar excursions abroad may be organized more often in the future. Van Diejen continues, "We're currently investigating whether a trip to other European countries would be useful, or whether we should take another group of growers to Almería."
For more information:
Cees Ammerlaan, Sales Specialist Cucumbers
Mobile: +31(0)6 150 049 79, E-mail: email@example.com
Brenda van Diejen, Sales Specialist Cucumbers