Tomato grower Lans has turned off half of the lights and reduced winter production by 40 percent. The increased prices for tomatoes cannot compensate for the high energy prices. Nevertheless, Leo van der Lans sees opportunities. Opportunities abroad, for instance.
From 1.5 hectares in Poeldijk, Netherlands the brothers went to a 2.5 hectare farm in 's-Gravenzande, which they sold in 1994 to build a new 7.5 hectare farm in Maasland instead. Today, with over 79 hectares and seven locations in the Westland, Dinteloord and Rilland, Lans is one of the larger tomato nurseries in the Netherlands.
"We have already tried to cooperate with a nursery in Saudi Arabia, but then we found out how poorly they treated their employees. Now we have plans in Tunisia. We want to offer employees future perspectives there, just like we do here in the Netherlands."
Lans keeps in investing in innovation as well. Together with a Hungarian company, the nursery is developing LED lights with white light that save 30 to 40 percent energy and lead to better plant growth. And with high-tech company Priva, Lans is working on a leaf-picking robot. 'If we didn't innovate, we'd still be growing grapes and spinach here,' laughs van der Lans.
Cees and Leo van der Lans, pictured here in an article in the series Andere Tuinbouwtijden