Agro Care started in 2013 with the project Desert Joy in El Hamma, Tunisia. In the North African country tomatoes are grown under the Fair Trade certificate. They started with a 2.5-hectare plastic greenhouse. In the latest Havecontact, Havecon's magazine, Philip van Antwerpen, commercial director, explains why they made the switch to glass greenhouses.
"With plastic greenhouses you have the problem that simply less light enters the greenhouse, which strongly influences the growth of the crop. In addition, there is a practical problem because the height of the ridge is limited. In addition, plastic becomes dirty much faster and replacing it is a costly matter, because it is very labor-intensive and the plastic itself and the mounting clips are very expensive. This is the reason that we, also based on Havecon's advice, have switched to glass. That works very well. With the expansion that you will supply to us, combined with a number of years of cultivation experience, we can then take stock at the end of this year. "
What's the acreage of plastic and glass at the moment?
"At the moment there is 4x5 = 20 hectares of plastic greenhouse and 2x5 = 10 hectares of glass, and we are currently working hard on the next 2x5 hectares of glass, to be supplied by Havecon. That should all be ready and in operation by the end of this year."
When we talk about the sale of your products, do they go to the Netherlands or rather further to the south?
"All tomatoes from Tunisia first go to the Netherlands and from there they are further distributed over a large part of Europe. Our market only focuses on Europe. In addition to our cultivation facility in Tunisia, we also have beautiful greenhouses, built by Havecon, in the Netherlands and in France."
What kind of tomatoes and how many varieties are cultivated?
"In addition to all varieties and colors of snack tomatoes, we also grow the tastiest mini vine and cherry tomatoes."
Finally about the collaboration with Havecon. Over the years you have been able to do many projects together. What makes the collaboration so unique in your eyes?
"That's right. I think that we have learned to work together very well. If we occasionally disagree, we always will find a solution. And more importantly: you are responding immediately. This is very important and pleasant for us and a necessity for continuity. In addition, the quality and capacity of the organization certainly meets our wishes. We are happy with Havecon!"
This article is from the HaveContact 2020, which is available online (in Dutch).