Greenhouses play an important role in food security. With the help of Dutch partners the Canadian greenhouse industry has evolved into an efficient sector that provides sustainable food throughout the year. This innovative way of producing is getting more acknowledged and fits well in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The key factors of greenhouses are efficiency, consistency and food safety. Greenhouses are efficiently controlled environments, in which water, light, nutrients and temperature can be precisely managed by innovative software. This creates an optimal environment with the most favorable circumstances for the specific crop growing in the greenhouse, and even more importantly, it ensures that only the necessary amount of water and energy are used. This saves space, money and energy. It also maximizes yields: one acre of a tomato greenhouse yields 10 times the amount of tomatoes as one acre of tomatoes in a field.
Throughout the years the Netherlands is an important partner in Canada for the greenhouse industry. Globally, 90% of all greenhouses are of Dutch origin. The triple helix approach in which government, research and industry work together in the Netherlands helps create a setting of institutional collaboration in which all parties work together to innovate. Due to the relatively high energy prices in the Netherlands, the greenhouse industry has become the most energy efficient in the world.
With limited land and a rainy climate, the Netherlands has learned to use land and production systems in an efficient and innovative way to maximize yields. This has helped to grow a concentration of specialized greenhouse companies in the Netherlands that is unique in the world. The Netherlands has more than 90 square kilometers of greenhouse expertise to share! This is roughly 3.5 times the size of the Canadian greenhouses, based on surface area. Dutch innovative and experienced companies can provide tailor-made solutions for specific climates, specific markets and specific crops in Canada.