Marcel Biemans (Coöperatie Hoogstraten):

"The energy crisis not yet leading to a decline in our winter lit strawberry cultivation"

There is currently a limited supply of strawberries in Belgium. "We have to find creative ways to supply all our customers," says Marcel Biemans of Coöperatie Hoogstraten. "We're getting supply from the lit cultivation crop, and volumes are similar to last year. Our strawberry growers, too, face the energy crisis, even though strawberries need less light than, say, greenhouse vegetables. The winter crop, grown under lights, hasn't yet decreased."

"There's good strawberry demand. As of now, most of those from lit cultivation go to retailers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Buyers are increasingly getting serious about these kinds of strawberries. They can use them to distinguish themselves well from stores carrying Spanish strawberries." Marcel believes the new packaging rules in France - although there are exceptions for soft fruits - will benefit Coöperatie Hoogstraten. As a rule, strawberries are packaged in cardboard punnets.

"Good prices are being achieved at the moment. However, considering growers' cost prices, that's certainly needed," he adds. Marcel will be leaving for the Netherlands at the end of January. He is to join Van Aert Flowers as their operations manager. "I'm a farmer's son, so horticulture flows like blood through my veins. So, I couldn't pass up on this opportunity. Soon, I'll be more involved with cut flowers than strawberries."

Marcel says his succession within Hoogstraten will be successful. "My successor, Michiel Vermeiren, is a horticulturist's son, just like me. He has proved himself over the last 18 months. I have every confidence that Michiel will add to Hoogstraten Stawberries' success story," Marcel concludes.

For more information:
Marcel Biemans / Michiel Vermeiren 
Coöperatie Hoogstraten
59 Loenhoutseweg
Hoogstraten, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 334 00 233
Email: marcel.biemans@hoogstraten.eu
Email: michiel.vermeiren@hoogstraten.eu   
Website: www.hoogstraten.eu 


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