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"Bachelor grower without family takes more risk"

Belgian and Dutch growers make the same choices in the field of innovation. This is the conclusion of Pieter Ammerlaan, who recently graduated from the Harper Adams University in England. Perhaps more striking: bachelor or single growers take more risk than growers with a family. When they go bankrupt, it affects the whole family.

Pieter researched innovation in cucumber, tomato and pepper greenhouses. "I've always had an affinity for innovation in horticulture. It concerns the future," he says. One hundred Dutch and thirty Belgian growers participated in his research. The most well-known innovation turned out to be Next Generation Growing. The least-known was a cultivation registration app. "There is so little difference between Belgian and Dutch growers that I suspect that the ancestors of many Flemish growers came from the Netherlands."

Robots
Pieter divided the growers into different types. "You can make groups based on the innovations that they are going to work on. For example, take robots: these are mainly used by growers who like to be a step ahead of the rest. Big companies are also more inclined to invest in technology than smaller companies. It is easier for bigger companies to make the investment."


Vertical farming
Growers don’t seem to be very excited about vertical farming. "They fear that the consumer does not like the idea of vertical farming at all and are not open to it. There is also still little known about the profitability of this cultivation method. Ultimately they opt for certainty and guaranteed success."

Nest
Pieter is the son of John Ammerlaan of Plant nursery Leo Ammerlaan, but after just completing his studies, he is not going to work with his father right away. "The ambition is surely to return to the nest, but first I'm looking for a place where I can further develop myself in the field of innovation. And who knows, it might be enjoyable enough that I will just stay there."

If you would like to receive the digital version of Pieter's thesis, you can send him an email


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