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October 21

Opening of HortiDemoCentre at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

On 20th October 2022, a consortium of partners in the horticultural sector, including local and Dutch companies, in partnership with Stellenbosch University, will officially open the brand new HortiDemoCentre and welcome guests to visit the Centre at the open day on 21st October 2022.

With the support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and all consortium partners, enough financial means were collected to realize the HortiDemoCentre at Stellenbosch. The HortiDemoCentre will specialize in protected horticulture and will showcase the best and most cutting-edge in Dutch horticultural technology. The HortiDemoCentre will work towards being a viable business in the long term by implementing innovative Dutch technologies for profitable, productive, sustainable, and climate-smart agronomy and offering training to students (and eventually jobs) and emerging farmers.

The partner members include Delphy BV, Stellenbosch University, Greener Solutions (a South African company), Ludvig Svensson, Ridder Group, Rijk Zwaan, Koppert South Africa, and Control Union. All contribute a broad spectrum of knowledge and technology throughout the horticultural value chain: from seed to market, to aim to develop, together with South African farmers, a business case for production for high-end markets in South Africa. Target groups of the center include commercial and emerging farmers, students, agronomists, researchers, local government and extension services, and value chain actors such as buyers and retailers.

The HortiDemoCentre will not only focus on the improvement of farming methods, but by focusing on the entire value chain, markets for the products will be improved, and ultimately jobs will be created with climate-smart horticulture. The HortiDemoCentre will:

  • Provide training, skills, and knowledge exchange on good farming practices and entrepreneurship for new and existing growers (students) and (emerging) commercial farmers.
  • Engage other important stakeholders and value chain partners and develop a new market for sustainable agriculture and technologies such as on water efficiency, climate-resistant inputs, biological pest management, post-harvest inspection, and certification.
  • Strengthen the position of (Dutch) greenhouse technology and high-quality inputs in the South African market. It will achieve this by showcasing the technologies, involving investors, and creating a different mindset towards technologies by linking them to the sustainable farming aspects that are needed for future farming.
  • Contribute to food security by increasing the local production and availability of quality food products that are nutritious and safe and allow access to premium markets.

The HortiDemoCentre will also offer a potential site for independent trials in the commercial vegetable sector. It will be able to generate local and nonpartisan data on vegetable varieties on behalf of commercial seed companies through being administered by Stellenbosch University.

The opening of the HortiDemoCentre will take place on Thursday, 20th October. The HortiDemoCentre will host an open day for the public on 21st October 2022 from 09:00 – 15:00 at Welgevallen Experimental Farm, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

For more information:
HortiDemo Centre
Dr. Estelle Kempen 
079 881 5058 
estellekempen@sun.ac.za 
www.linkedin.com/company/hortipreneurial-centre-of-excellence-stellenbosch-sa/ 


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