Erwin Verbraeken has been active in horticulture for his entire career, and he recently made the switch to Paskal Netherlands. For the Israeli company, he will be helping growers in Europe with cultivation support systems such as clips, hooks, truss arches, and cluster support systems. They may seem like simple products, but because in horticulture you’re competing at the top level, Erwin says. "it is important we also continue to look for optimization. And because such tools are used on a large scale, a small improvement makes a big difference."
Paskal operates globally, with their products being used in greenhouses all around the world: from Mexico, Spain, Russia, and Australia to Italy and the US. Erwin works in the Dutch office from where he also serves the UK, Belgium, Germany and Poland. "In Western Europe, horticulture is played at a high level: it’s the champions league of growing. The sector is constantly looking for optimization. For instance, how can processes be improved, how can they be sped up? Labor shortages, energy, it's all part of the equation: everyone is looking for the best solution down to the last detail. That means growers have to rely on the right suppliers, who pay attention to the smallest details."
That's exactly what Paskal does for their crop support products. "We specialize in components such as high-wire systems for greenhouse vegetables: cucumber, tomatoes, eggplants, high-truss arches, and cluster support systems. They may come off as simple-looking products perhaps. Yet, because they are used in such large numbers, any improvement in the margin ends up being a very big one, Erwin explains.
"You want the parts to fit exactly the way crops are grown and we continue to improve our products based on this information.” For example, over the last couple of years, the company has paid a lot of attention to the labor friendliness of their products, since finding skilled workers is always a challenge to growers.
Producing in the most environmentally friendly way
On top of that, Erwin observes that recently producing in the most environmentally friendly way has become a major trend in the industry. “Growers are investing in alternative energy sources, and also reducing waste is a big topic. That's why we see businesses increasingly leaning toward more biodegradable materials. We can supply that, but then we want to be sure that it meets the high standards we set for our products. We don't want to compromise on our quality standard. It should not be that a product is biodegradable, but the required cultivation time is not met. Developing products that are better and that at least meet the high requirements from greenhouse horticulture is therefore our way of contributing to optimization in the market."