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Rijk Zwaan and Holland Greentech expand cooperation in West Africa

"Holland Greentech is proud to have started this next step with Rijk Zwaan for developing horticulture in West Africa". That's what Norbert van der Straaten, founder & director of Holland Greentech, commented after the company announced an expanded cooperation with Rijk Zwaan in West Africa.

Formal signing of partnership in Accra, Ghana by Peter van der Zanden (Rijk Zwaan), Celestina Danso Arhin (Holland Greentech) and Bente Fonkert (Holland Greentech). Witnessed by Bram Wits, Agricultural Councillor West Africa from the Embassy of the Netherlands. (January 2020)

Already both companies have been working together in supplying hybrid vegetable seeds for 5 years, active in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia. Norbert van der Straaten says: "We started 5 years ago with a Dutch public private project called SMART Horticulture in Rwanda and from there we decided to start-up Holland Greentech. Now we supply horticultural inputs to thousands of vegetable growers in our countries and have provided in-depth field training to over 15,000 farmers in 2019 only. We are confident we will further grow with our next step in Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso."

First demonstration and training sites of high quality vegetable production by Holland Greentech of Mydas F1 RZ in Benin

Package and service model
To feed the cities in Africa and boost exports, there is a strong need to develop the next step of horticulture. Norbert shares: "We want to realize this development by offering an integrated package of products and services: Seeds, nursery inputs, irrigation, greenhouses, IPM and soil analysis. Our service model with highly motivated young experts enables us to follow-up and train farmers continuously, which is essential in development and growth of our customers. We are proud at our new teams in Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso that are ready to partner with vegetable growers in West-Africa."

Holland Greentech Farmer field day

Presence in Africa
Van der Straaten continues: "We can contribute to food security by introducing technologies that are adapted to local circumstances. The challenge is offering technologies and practices that fit the local growing conditions. We see a great fit with Rijk Zwaan in this." The presence and importance on the African market is clear at Rijk Zwaan, as Peter van der Zanden of Rijk Zwaan explains: “Rijk Zwaan is active in the whole of Africa. To develop the true potential of this special continent, we take a long-term approach. In Arusha, Tanzania, we’ve invested in a breeding station called ‘Afrisem’, starting in 2009. Here, we develop hybrid varieties of local traditional crops, such as African eggplant, African kale and Chinense pepper. In addition, varieties from Rijk Zwaan’s international assortment have been tested and selected on suitability for cultivation in Africa. That’s how we support small-scale local growers to play a key role in building a sustainable food supply in Africa. Next to supplying seeds, we focus on transferring knowledge and providing training to growers as well. We do this by working together with a team of local specialists and local partners, like Holland Greentech.”

Rijk Zwaan new Chinense pepper variety Loleza F1

“After an intensive period of breeding and selection at our breeding station in Tanzania we are very proud to introduce vegetable varieties that are perfectly suitable for the African market. We recently introduced three Chinense pepper varieties: Lengai RZ F1, Afadja RZ F1 and Loleza RZ F1 in the African market. The determinate tomato varieties Jarrah RZ F1 and Gamhar RZ F1 are also results from our African breeding program, and are very productive, with firm fruits and an improved shelf life. A typical product throughout the central part of Africa is the local African eggplant. We succeeded to develop variety, Kazinga RZ F1, with an attractive white colour, improved yield and improved shelf life”, says Van der Zanden.

Rijk Zwaan new determinate open field plum tomato Jarrah F1

Next steps
Van der Straaten: "Now the new offices in Ghana (Accra and Kumasi), Benin and Burkina Faso are all operational with products and services, we are also looking at the horizon. We would like to intensify our role in access to market, financing, advisory services and knowledge development in the horticultural sector, as we see major opportunities if these topics will be better organized! Next to that? I hope that soon I can be back on my speed bike in Rwanda and climb one of the thousands hills again!" Van der Straaten concludes.

For more information:
Holland Greentech  

Ghana: +233 20 820 1285
Benin: +229 51379799
Burkina Faso: +226 07 06 06 60
Netherlands: +31 613748277

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