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Maren Schoormans:

Dutch greenhouse suppliers unite in Dutch Greenhouse Delta

"If this doesn't work, nothing will," laughs Maren Schoormans. There is no lack of enthusiasm when he's asked about Dutch Greenhouse Delta, which was officially launched on Thursday, September 6. "Of course you have to deal with skepticism in a number of people, because there were already initiatives for the promotion of horticulture, but the registrations poured in for the kick-off event", he says.

Dutch Greenhouse Delta is an initiative of the private sector to anticipate on the growing number of mega cities in the world. They are cooperating to increase the opportunities in the international market for the greenhouse technology domain together. 

"The room was filled with people from all segments, including suppliers, AVAG members and board members, people from Rotterdam Foodcluster, Rabobank, and logistics companies. Even representatives from other top sectors were present.” The speakers included Frank Korf from WorldEmp, who spoke about opportunities in India, and Peter Prins from Netherlands Water Platform, who talked about how they are capitalizing on opportunities in Vietnam. "We are deeply aware that we have to do it together, and even if we all work together, we still seem too small, compared to the enormous opportunities that lie ahead."

Busy year
So how did Dutch Greenhouse Delta get started? "A year ago it began as an initiative of Sjaak van der Tak, who was then mayor of Westland. His idea: turning greenhouses into a brand." A number of greenhouse builders were brought together and Maren Schoormans (Priva), Mike Vermeij (Bom Group), Wouter Kuiper (KUBO) and Hein van der Sande (Certhon) were given the task to make this a reality. On September 13, 2017, they started a foundation and in the following year worked on giving the project shape.

Maren Schoormans, Hein van der Sande, Mike Vermeij and Wouter Kuiper are on the DGD board of directors.

Just before the summer, AVAG joined, along with eleven other players in the past two months. They all made a contribution of 25,000 euros. "We are a foundation with a board of directors, but in the end we will become something like a company with staff and an office in the World Horti Center.

Concrete projects

The foundation is starting off with a full agenda right off the bat. "We have seven concrete projects in China," says Maren. "Several of them are about food supplies in mega cities. One of them was here on Thursday, a Chinese entrepreneur who has conceived the plan to realize a 5 km2 urban renewal project with greenhouses in the vicinity of Shanghai. He joined us through Tiffany Tsui from Greenport China. Together with Tiffany we are going to work on these seven business cases in the coming period. There are also large industrial companies that have plans to build thousands of hectares of greenhouses in certain parts of the country. And we're not limited to China. In India, for example, we don't even know half of what's possible."

Not just for greenhouse builders

Dutch Greenhouse Delta is not a just a club for greenhouse builders, Maren emphasizes. They do form the foundation though, and that is quite remarkable. "Greenhouse builders are known to be competitive and if they are able to invest in DGD together, everyone can do it", says Maren. And that is necessary too. "Given the opportunities that are available, we're not able to do it with just the Dutch horticulture sector, much less individual companies. What is needed is cooperation with the other sectors that often go beyond horticulture when it comes to international cooperation and profiling. That means sectors like infrastructure, energy, mobility and water supply. It will also not be the case that every kilogram of steel, glass, PVC and concrete is supplied from the Netherlands. The key is that we provide capacity and intelligence to build these types of projects and to facilitate them. DGD should become the point of contact where investors and governments can go to initiate such a project."
Hein van der Sande and Sjaak van der Tak sign the agreement.

Sjaak van der Tak recently put his signature under the collaboration with DGD, on behalf of LTO Glaskracht. Maren thinks it's a very valuable collaboration. "It is important that not only suppliers unite, but that the growers associations also add their specific knowledge and expertise."

Golden triangle
In addition to the companies collaborating in the Dutch Greenhouse Delta, Maren sees great value in the relationship with the Greentech fair in Amsterdam and the World Horti Center. "We have a trade fair, a demonstration, research and training center and a promotional organization, so I think we have a golden triangle," says Maren. "And everyone is welcome to join us. As far as I'm concerned, that triangle should become an octagon and finally a circle."

For more information:

Dutch Greenhouse Delta
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