GreenQ's Jos Houwen:

China: Lots of greenhouses but knowledge is scarce

At the 16th Hortiflorexpo IPM in Beijing we had the chance to speak with Jos Houwen, a horticultural specialist who works as a grower in China. Houwen, who works for the GreenQ Horticultural Expertise Group, is currently involved in exploring crop management in a high tech greenhouse in Shanghai and training the local growers to work with modern greenhouse technique.

GreenQ is active on a global scale with training and consultancy for the horticultural sector. Besides this, the company also operates a research facility in The Netherlands, the well-respected GreenQ Improvement Centre. From there the company coordinates it's international training and consultancy programs and international subsidiaries. As a horticultural specialist, Jos Houwen is based in China, a country where GreenQ is also represented with different activities. "We train groups of growers so they are prepared to manage one of the high tech greenhouses that are currently being built in China," said Houwen. As well as this, GreenQ develops advanced cultivation systems for the typical local, so called “solar greenhouses”, and also trains and teaches local farmers in using these technologies.

Jos Houwen at the 16th Hortiflorexpo IPM in Beijing.

As the Chinese horticulture market is developing rapidly, the industry is demanding qualified people. Houwen: "Many Chinese groups and entrepreneurs are investing in greenhouses over de last years. They realize that there is a good market for sustainable and safe food production, while greenhouses give a good ROI, especially on longer terms. China is currently the largest producer of horticultural products and the growing population is demanding more and more sustainable and safely produced food. That is why a lot of investment is being made in modern greenhouse technique, but the only problem is that investors hardly know what type of greenhouse and equipment is required for their project on a specific location. That's the point when we enter the scene. With services in feasibility studies, functional designs, tender procedures and technical advice we support decision makers to realize successful projects.”

GreenQ trains Chinese growers at several locations in the country, because knowhow and expertise in cultivation skills for modern greenhouses is hard to find, or rather; not available yet. "China is a large country that houses many different types of climates, so we also train growers in different regions," Houwen said. "On several locations the trainees get to know all cultivation strategies and additional skills that they will need in advanced horticulture, like irrigation, fertilization and basic plant physiology. Next to this we teach them how to work with greenhouse automation, climate computers and how to deal with a technical malfunction of the systems.

Recently GreenQ launced a new Chinese website to serve the market directly in the native language. For more information, please visit

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