Is it really going to happen again? Can an exhibition be organized in the Netherlands? Can people be received in the RAI in Amsterdam again? Yes, says the organization of GreenTech. With the announcement of the nominations for the GreenTech Innovation Award, they are showing that they are ready for GreenTech Live & Online, which will take place both physically and digitally from September 28 to 30, 2021.
"For the first time after the pandemic hit the world, the horticulture industry will be reconnected face-2-face at the RAI Amsterdam. It is time to get the personal encounters started again," says Mariska Dreschler with GreenTech. "The ones who are not able to travel to Amsterdam can participate online via the virtual platform."
Global meeting place
The show has been a point of debate among the horticultural industry. it's a very international event, as the exhibition is a global meeting place for all horticultural growers and technology professionals. For many visitors it is possible to come to Europe; but will they? This uncertainty made exhibitors also doubt their presence. Yet, it seems now the organizers can count on loyalty from their exhibitors. While a recent survey shows that most AVAG members feel more confident about the 2022 event, hardly any of the exhibitors pull out, meaning that almost 100 companies will be present physically or digitally on the GreenTech Live&Online 2021.
Only PB-Tec recently decided to withdraw its application. "Due to the limited number of visitors and the limited number of participating companies, it is not economically feasible for us to be a participant at the fair," explains commercial director Koen Brabander. "In 2022 we will be there again, that has already been decided."
International horticultural event
Other exhibitors will be physically present in Amsterdam at the end of next month or, in the case of international exhibitors, digitally present. To represent the sector, to showcase their innovations, and also because they are loyal to the GreenTech organization and the international horticultural event.
"We are eager to welcome everyone back to the Netherlands," explains general manager Wouter Kuiper of KUBO. "Whether that will be possible or not is the key question. Travelling is tricky anyway and every country has its own rules. Everything changes at the drop of a hat. But if it goes through, we'll be there. Meeting in person is fundamental to everyone."
They see it the same way at Certhon. "When it comes to exhibition quality, the GreenTech is on an upward trend," thinks sales manager Richard van der Sande, who is concerned about the number of international visitors this year. "The last few years everybody has worked so hard on achieving this higher level. That's good. Should this situation continue, the adjustments they would have to make could detract from this. And it would be a shame to weaken the upward trend."
The GreenTech understands their comments and points out that currently, visitors from over 85 countries registered for the show. "Of course only time will tell if they can physically come to the show, but we're assured many people from Europe will join us, as well as a certain number of visitors from the US and Canada," says Mariska. "What we've seen on GreenTech Americas is that people are ready to get together again and meet up as soon as possible."
Richard van der Sande (Certhon), Wouter Kuiper (Kubo), Koen Brabander (PB tec), Pien Stams (Oreon) and Patrick van Vugt (Royal Brinkman)
Last year's event, which was 100% online, had mixed reactions. A recently published study including the GreenTech showed that networking is more effective at a physical fair than at a digital one. However, it also concluded there are opportunities for combining physical fairs with digital aspects. These can "powerfully support each other". Such a hybrid concept is also what GreenTech has been aiming for: the fair is a platform for networking and knowledge sharing both physically and online.
GreenTech is supported by AVAG, the industry association for the greenhouse technology sector in the Netherlands. They recently collected opinions on this year's hybrid edition for its members, many of whom are exhibitors at GreenTech. Based on these opinions, they advised the trade fair organization. Lindy van der Drift, AVAG's communications specialist, says that it is ultimately up to the trade fair organization to make the decision on whether or not to continue the trade fair. "Generally speaking, we are always very much in favor of the continuation of such events. After all, a trade fair like this should be representative of the quality of the sector."
The latter point is also underlined by the exhibitors and is at the same time a sensitive one: The fair must also be representative of the sector. "We should hold the fair not because we can, but because it makes sense," said one of the responses to the survey.
With all the measures in place, can you organize an international event where the Dutch sector can position itself well? In order to organize the event according to the applicable measures, standard stand construction and catering were chosen. Partly because of this, Royal Brinkman, for example, decided earlier not to participate. Marketing manager Patrick van Vugt: "Covid is still so present that we don't expect to see any large foreign visitors coming to Amsterdam. The appearance of GreenTech in September, with only the choice of standard stands, is not what Royal Brinkman has in mind. In this form, we do not think we can get the most out of a trade fair participation. As soon as our foreign customers start/can/are allowed to travel again, we will definitely participate in Greentech Amsterdam 2022 again."
The team at Oreon, a regular participant from the very beginning, recognizes this similarly. "We have been hesitant with regard to our participation in a hybrid Greentech. The number of international visitors as an uncertain factor made us decide to skip this year. In 2022 we will definitely be there again as an exhibitor," says Pien Stams.
Before that happens, GreenTech Live&Online 2021 is on the agenda. "The show will of course be different from what we're used to. We've deliberatly chosen to organise the GreenTech Live & Online this year and be back with a GreenTech Amsterdam next year," says Mariska Dreschler with GreenTech. "The number of visitors might be lower than we're used to. We see it as a concentrated version of the GreenTech: the core of the industry is present. On our exhibitor list are the market leaders and innovators. Answering to their demand, we created a Reconnect to Horticulture platform that the market can be proud of. As the RAI we're ready to organise a safe and welcoming event."
Complementing the physical and digital exhibition floor, an extensive knowledge program will be organized for the participants, also both digitally and physically. "It includes talks on the visionary level and on crop optimization. There are talks on trends & developments, strategic and visionary leaders hosting talks in a two-day program. And of course, there are the talks on crop optimization: how to get the best crop possible. This includes all information that GreenTech is known for and what head growers are looking for."
And of course, various awards will again be presented for innovations and new concepts. The nominations were announced yesterday. Covid or not, the sector's developmental power continues to run at full speed. Let's have a look at them!
The exhibitors of GreenTech submitted 21 innovations for the GreenTech Innovation Awards 2021. An expert jury selected 6 nominees from all entries in 2 categories namely ‘Innovation’ and ‘Concept’. The winners will be announced during the opening of the show on Tuesday 28 September 2021.
The nominees and entries for the Innovation Awards will be showcased and can be visited during the exhibition.
Liselotte de Vries (Chairman Innovation Award Jury, TU Delft AgTech Institute) explains why the jury selected the nominations below: “Submissions this year were very versatile and innovative. The jury tried to distinguish between interesting improvements of existing technologies, new innovations with a proven business case, and new concepts. Those submissions part of the latter two are nominated for the innovation and concept award.”
Nominations per category
- Van Iperen, GreenSwitch Original
- Visser Horti Systems, ViLab (Containerized Tissue Culture Laboratory)
- Biota Nutri BV, Biota Nutri Calculator
- Corvus Drones, Corvus Drones
- Ridder, Ridder CoRanger
- Van der Ende Groep, Nitrate recovery
To check out the longlist of all the entries of the Innovation Awards please visit: www.greentech.nl/live-and-online/innovative-products/
And the nominees on the website: www.greentech.nl/live-and-online/innovation-award/nominees/
The jury of the GreenTech Innovation Awards 2021 consists of:
Chairman: Liselotte de Vries, TU Delft AgTech Institute (Netherlands)
Silke Hemming, Wageningen University & Research (Germany)
Peter Zwinkels, Tecknokas (Netherlands)
Mark Durno, Rockstart (United Kingdom)
Perry van Adrichem, Horti-Tech B.V. (Netherlands)
Wolfgang Steiner, Gemüsebau Steiner GmbH & Co KG (Germany)
The jury’s advisory committee consists of:
Brian Sparks, Greenhouse Grower (USA)
Leonardo Capitano, Vivai Capitanio (Italy)
Enrico Verhoef, Total Greenhouse Service (Mexico)
Heinrich Dressler, Haymarket (Germany)