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Wouter Kuiper, KUBO:

"We want to show that greenhouse farming is doing its utmost"

"Our CO₂-negative greenhouse simply uses outside air to supply the plants with the required CO₂. Currently, this is often injected," Wouter Kuiper from KUBO told BNR. "This solution came about under pressure from European regulations in response to climate change. We want to show that greenhouse horticulture is putting its best foot forward."

Glasshouse horticulture not to be shut down
In the broadcast, Wouter disputes the idea that greenhouse horticulture should disappear because of its high energy consumption in a densely populated area. "After all, we also supply more than 15 percent electricity to the grid," he said. Some 80-90 percent of the products from greenhouse farming go abroad. "But for that reason, let's not shut down the sector in the Netherlands. What could be tastier and healthier than vegetables from your own backyard?", Wouter wonders.

In the broadcast, Wouter has to make a choice whether he finds the reduction of migrant workers dramatic or positive. He judges that it is dramatic, but brings in the nuance that the Netherlands cannot do without migrant workers. "We are such a prosperous and highly educated country that we cannot find staff who want to work in the greenhouse. This is more often seen in prosperous countries. We need migrant workers to do the work in our greenhouses."

Always people's work
Wouter further argues that greenhouse work will always be people's work. "Some growers can smell when they step into the greenhouse whether there is a shortage of moisture. A computer will not be able to do that in the next 10 years. It will be another 20 years before fully autonomous cultivation is possible. Of course, we can supplement manual work with robots, but they generally have a lot of trouble with picking, thieving and that kind of work."

In China, importing greenhouses is discouraged. Wouter: "We are therefore also trying not to sell or build any more greenhouses in that country. We are now looking at what else we can get from China."

Interested parties can listen back to Wouter on BNR here from the 34:00 minute mark.

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