Cucumber and bell pepper grower Wijnen Square Crops wins highest accolade in Dutch horticulture

ALMERE, Netherlands: Guido Landheer, director general of the Dutch ministry of agriculturel has presented the 2022 Dutch Horticultural Entrepreneur Award to Wijnen Square Crops. The cucumber and bell pepper grower from Egchel won the award on Thursday 21 April at the AIPH-approved world horticultural exhibition Floriade Expo in Almere, the Netherlands.

The Dutch Horticultural Entrepreneur Award recognises progressive growers who embrace technology, modern and sustainable production practices, market innovation, strong customer service and demonstrate their position as an industry leader.

The jury voted unanimously for Wijnen Square Crops to win the 35th edition of the coveted award. Because of the winner’s efforts to achieve fossil-free cultivation, sustainable growing solutions and the creation of good living and working conditions for its (international) employees.

Wijnen’s market knowledge and focus, and attention to business continuity equally impressed the jury.

Wijnen Four battled it out against three other competitors: Chysanthemum growers Zentoo, tulip grower Niels Kreuk BV and succulent plant nursery OVATA,  all  shining examples of outstanding entrepreneurship.

This year, the event organisers had launched a new award: the Robotics and Automation Award to highlight and honour companies that have done particularly well in terms of their technical innovations and their success in the horticultural industry.

Gearbox Innovations from Maasdijk scoped up this inaugural award for its GearRover tool.

GearRover provides harvesting assistance during cultivation and insight into the harvest volume, and thereby combines robotics and vision with artificial intelligence in order to simplify, improve or speed up the daily work.

Tomatoworld and Fruit Tech Campus were given a special mention for the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize, because they are ensuring the development of knowledge and provide a place where young people and entrepreneurs can discover the latest innovations.

The horticulture sector faces significant challenges in 2022. Energy prices are skyrocketing, there is a war raging between Ukraine and Russia and labour shortages are an ongoing issue. Fortunately, demand for horticultural products continues to be buoyant.

Independent and impartial, the awards started in 1986 in response to the rather difficult period following the recession of the 1980s, a gloomy period of low consumer confidence and unemployment in the Netherlands. Back then, the Dutch horticultural industry identified the need to recognise progressive growers who embrace technology, modern and sustainable production practices, market innovation, strong customer service and demonstrate their position as an industry leader.

Dutch cooperative Prominent, specialised in the production and marketing of tomatoes won the trophy in 2020. The latest winner from within the ornamental horticulture industry was Phalaenopsis and Anthurium breeder and propagator Anthura, which won the accolade on 9 January 2019. This achievement automatically qualified the company for the 2020 AIPH International Growers of the Year Awards at IPM Essen where it was crowned the overall winner of the Gold Rose Award.

The awards ceremony is now back after a one year break due to Covid-19. In this context, the event’s spokeswoman, Diana Duijvesteijn told FCI that the 2022 awards are also a celebration of perseverance, resilience and risk management in Dutch horticulture.

 

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