Belgian lettuce growers Bert Depoortere and Evelien Vandewaetere received an honored guest last week; Deputy Prime Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne visited the growers' greenhouse in Ardooie on Tuesday. He got an idea of the problems these growers face: high energy costs and seasonal worker shortages. "Energy is getting more expensive, but lettuce isn't," noted Het Nieuwsblad, a Flemish newspaper. Read more (in Dutch) here.
Bert and Evelien grow some of their lettuce in full soil and some in water-filled gutters, all in a greenhouse. They use additional lighting for the gutter cultivation. The growers have also recently invested in a brand new cogeneration plant.
With the CHP, they produce the electricity needed for the lighting, and they can heat the greenhouse, but, recently, there have been gas price developments, and gas heating is to be phased out in the region, too. That has created much uncertainty about the medium-term return on this investment.
The minister listened to the growers with interest. He also happily rolled up his sleeves to harvest and pack a few lettuce plants. "He didn't do too badly either," says Evelien. All this was reported by the interest group, Boerenbond.
Honored guest! Vincent Van Quickenborne. #Lettuce #Energy transition. Green energy!