The biggest greenhouse built in Spain in one unit

10% increase of tomato production in the new Looije greenhouses

While a team meeting to coordinate the day's work is ending, we get ready to go into the new greenhouse with our disinfected clothes. At the greenhouse entrance, we meet Jacqueline Looije, the general director of Looije Aguilas, who quickly leads us into the greenhouse. We are already aware of its large dimensions because it is hard to keep up with her, and we are short of breath.

There, she tells us why the originally Dutch company Looiije Aguilas decided to set up a company in Spain in the 90s and their goals for the coming years.

"Looije Aguilas is a member of O.P. Looije, a grower company established in 2010 that has decided to grow tomatoes in Spain. Our main goal is to cultivate a good quality tomato for 12 months per year. O.P. Looije has a strategic plan until 2026. For this reason, Looije Aguilas bought 27 hectares of ground to build complex phases of greenhouses in 2019. The projects were done by Novagric," says Jacqueline.

In 2022, the tomato producer decided to build a new greenhouse module in Murcia of 7.3 hectares in one single unit, which is the largest greenhouse built in Spain in recent years.

Looije and Novagric managers are planning the project to start planting on August 3. "We expect to increase production from 21-22 to 27 kg per square meter with this new greenhouse."

These companies have been working together for more than ten years, and they are strongly aligned with technical optimization to get high yields with the best quality.

Jacqueline Looije (Looije Aguilas) and Juan Pardo (Novagric) during the greenhouse construction process.

Juan Pardo, technical project manager at Novagric, tells us that they are in the final stage of this third project. "We have designed a new technological greenhouse to meet their needs, where solar radiation is a priority to achieve high yield and quality in hydroponics cherry tomato cultivation."

Competitiveness of the Spanish Greenhouses
Spain is one of the largest greenhouse tomato-producing countries. Currently, the Spanish greenhouse industry is at a higher level of productivity, the demand for more modern, large-scale greenhouses has resulted in a high degree of competitiveness.  

"Looije Aguilas is originally a Dutch company. Twenty-four years ago, we decided to go to the south of Spain because at that time, in the 90s, there was a lack of light in winter in Holland to produce tomatoes," explains Jacqueline.

In Spain, it is not common to build a greenhouse of 7.3 hectares in one module, but Jacqueline lists its advantages. "It is more efficient because I only need one organization to manage the greenhouse. Also, I only need to do the settings for the climate for one greenhouse. If I had three, I'd need three climate systems."

Juan explains the several improvements carried out. "We have designed a lightweight structure painted in white so that it can reflect the sun's radiation and with different screens and double ventilation systems. This large volume enables efficient passive climate control and a more uniform climate in the greenhouse."

The final stage of the project.

Thanks to this, people work more comfortably and need less maintenance, and thanks to the cultivation gutters, productivity is higher, and there are fewer problems with pests and diseases.

Quality & Growth all year round 
They are cultivating three tomato cherry varieties throughout the year: round cherry, baby plum, and mini kumato.

After six months of harvesting, the start was great. "The production is 5-10% more than we have expected thanks to the good climate created in this greenhouse," says Jacqueline, even though they reached temperatures of 41 degrees in summer and low temperatures in winter.

At the end of this conversation, Jacqueline emphasizes that they are happy with this greenhouse. "We need to say that the quality is really good and homogeneous. We planted on time as Novagric met the project deadlines, and they were always available to answer all our questions." Thanks to this new installation, Looije is improving the quality standards of the final product that consumers buy in the supermarket.

Greenhouse with tomato cherry production

For more information:
Novagric
novagric@novagric.com 
www.novagric.com


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