Duijvestijn Tomaten and Biobest share a long history. “We were one of Biobest’s first customers,” says Ted Duijvestijn, standing in his 14.5 hectare tomato nursery at Pijnacker, in South Holland. He and his three brothers took over the company from their father in 1988.
“My father was one of the first to start working with biological crop protection. We were raised on it. When Biobest first launched bumblebees for pollination on to the market, we were quick to start using them.”
“And, we specifically apply natural enemies to each pest or disease we encounter. That is what we think is so important – working more pro-actively and sustainably as opposed to putting out fires. We share that philosophy with Biobest.”
Specialist Arjo van Lenteren from Biobest used to visit Duijvestijn Tomaten weekly. “Throughout these years I have contributed to training the Duijvestijn Cultivation Manager so they can closely monitor the biological crop protection activities themselves,” he says. “But, even now, I still visit the nursery every two weeks. We are also in direct contact – if pests turn up, we respond immediately using our expertise to evaluate how we can take prompt, adequate action.”
“With biological crop protection, you must react very quickly,” agrees Ted Duijvestijn. “New pests are always appearing, and often at the most unexpected times - that is how nature works. So then we have to quickly change gears and make corrections. Biobest is a loyal and reliable partner in this approach.”
Biological crop protection keeps tomatoes pure
The collaboration between Biobest and Duijvestijn Tomaten proved to be pioneering. And, according to Arjo van Lenteren and Ted Duijvestijn, biological crop protection will gain even greater importance in the future.
“Everyone is looking primarily to what is happening in commercial glasshouses. We have always taken a broad perspective – that is just part of the DNA of our company,” explains Ted Duijvestijn. “We look at the total surroundings, at the entire ecosystem. According to the United Nations, the population of the world will be almost 10 billion by 2050. We only have one earth to feed all these people, so we must treat its biodiversity with care. Biological crop protection is circular and does not negatively affect the environment. It is not a choice but a necessity, if we want to provide 10 billion people with good, safe food.”
“In respect to the plants themselves, biological crop protection is simply much better. It makes them stronger. You wouldn’t pop a pill every day to keep yourself from getting sick? You exercise, eat healthily and manage stress; it’s no different for plants. Biological crop protection makes plants pure again. Tomatoes smell and taste like real tomatoes. When I eat a tomato, my wife has asked, ‘Shouldn’t you wash that first?’ Why would I? I harvested it myself – I know they are clean.”
Cooperation between Biobest and Duijvestijn Tomaten
Over these past decades, Biobest has left an indelible mark on the way in which Duijvestijn Tomaten operates. But the relationship works in both directions, as Ted Duijvestijn explains: “We have inspired Biobest to show more and more of what they do to the outside world. Consumers today are extremely concerned about sustainability, circularity and organic foods. But they do not link the products they buy with Biobest, even though the biological crop protection in the background plays a vital role. We have urged Biobest to be more vocal and visible with their unique and innovative products. They should be even prouder about it than they are!”
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