Wageningen UR is making plans for five pilot projects to strengthen the horticulture chain in Argentina. The construction of a demo greenhouse with Dutch technology in the vicinity of the capital Buenos Aires is promising. In April a trade mission will take place for Dutch companies that will possibly want to invest in the Argentine horticulture chain.
WUR's involvement in horticulture in Argentina partly results from a visit by a Dutch delegation in December 2018. Among others, Loek Hermans, chairman of the Horticulture & Propagation Materials Top Sector and director Ernst van den Ende of the WUR Plant Sciences Group took part. At the time, also workshops were held with representatives from the Argentine horticulture industry.
The visit has led to a number of ideas to professionalize the horticulture sector in the country with the support of Dutch companies and knowledge institutions. These ideas have now been worked out further. Matthijs Montsma of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is in charge. He collaborates with Leontine Crisson, the Dutch agricultural council in Argentina.
Cooperation with the Netherlands
Horticulture in Argentina is not yet highly developed, but it does have a lot of potential, says Matthijs Montsma. According to him, major steps forward can be taken in the area of product quality, food safety and logistics. "I am convinced that the Dutch business community can make a contribution here. In Argentina there is a lot of interest in cooperation with parties from our country, both from the government and from producer organizations."
Building a demo greenhouse
The plan to build a demonstration greenhouse in the province of Buenos Aires is the most advanced. Montsma: "In that greenhouse the added value of Dutch greenhouse technology can be shown. It concerns the efficient use of water, better cultivation techniques and, for example, the careful use of pesticides. In such a demo greenhouse, also training sessions can be given to local growers. The greenhouse can thus function very efficiently."
A second bilateral horticultural project is focused on the logistics chain. At the moment, the post-harvest losses are substantial. An important reason for this is the long transport distances between the production areas and the urban centers. For example, a lot of profit can be achieved by using refrigerated transport. "But there is more going on. Maintaining product quality is a matter of organization. In this pilot we want to take a closer look at the entire chain."
Certification and monitoring
Another pilot that is currently being developed relates to food safety and quality. For high-quality vegetables they are willing to pay a higher price, but then this quality has to be guaranteed. Montsma: "That requires certification and monitoring. Argentine supermarket companies are prepared to take steps forward in this area. Dutch companies can also offer support in this pilot."
Source: Agroberichten Buitenland