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Signings between Westland companies and Hainan Province:

Dutch growers go to China

The Dutch growers of Prominent will soon harvest their first tomatoes in China. Last Friday, the group signed an agreement with a delegation from the province of Hainan. The Dutch tomato growers will provide their knowledge to a group of Chinese investors in order to optimize the output of their greenhouses on the island in the South China Sea.

The signing of the cooperation between the Chinese and the growers of Prominent is part of a total of four agreements between the Province of Hainan, Chinese investors Runda and Ruoniushan Group and three Dutch horticultural companies. Besides Prominent, Rijk Zwaan, HortiMaX and Priva will also strengthen its ties with Hainan; a region that offers many opportunities for the development of high tech greenhouses.


Signing ceremony between Hainan, Prominent, HortiMaX, Priva and Rijk Zwaan last Friday

According to Prominent's Ferdi van Elswijk, the closer cooperation between the companies is a logical next step. Over the past two years, both parties visited each other frequently in order to scan the possibilities. The Chinese investor already owned a total of 20 hectares on the island of Hainan, and last year they expanded with an advanced 7 hectare high-tech greenhouse. "Like no other, we know how to operate these greenhouses and produce as efficiently as possible. The signing of this agreement underscores our will to work together."

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Ferdi van Elswijk, Prominent

With a market share of 25%, the growers of Prominent are currently the largest supplier of TOVs on the North European market. A couple of years ago they already announced their international ambition with a first project in Ukraine. The strategic partnership with the Chinese parties is a follow-up to this. "We want to be a large international player, but the export from Dutch produce to a far away market is not always the best option. You can then make the choice to build a greenhouse elsewhere, or you can find a partner that already has a greenhouse. Runda is such a partner, they have the greenhouses, and we have the knowledge how to use them as efficiently as possible", said van Elswijk.


Mr. An Junming, chairman Hainan Runda Modern Agriculture Co., Ltd.

Partners
Prominent will not invest in any greenhouses or real estate in China. Van Elswijk: "Our Chinese partners have availability to a total of 330 hectares for the production of safely grown healthy produce. At the moment, Runda already has a total of 20 hectares of greenhouse, of which 7 hectares are state of the art Dutch style greenhouses, including a modern packing facility. We will participate in operating this greenhouse and will therefore benefit if it's producing as efficiently as possible and generates a maximum output."


Westland Mayor Sjaak van der Tak meets his Chinese colleague Mr. Li Jun, the Deputy Secretary of the Province of Hainan.

In order to provide optimal guiding and supervision for the growth of the crop, the growers from the Westland will not only travel frequently to Hainan, but they will also keep an eye on the crop over the internet. "We will educate and train people in Holland, and we will also use communication platforms like WeChat or streaming video in order to provide support. Technological development and innovations in greenhouse horticulture will increasingly allow you to grow a crop by wire nowadays."



Van Elswijk said that there are excellent opportunities for safely grown produce in China due to the rising middle class that is increasingly aware of its food. "There is a huge market for our product. Imagine that every Chinese would eat just one tomato; then you would need 1 billion tomatoes!"

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