Hazera has recently acquired a new high-tech greenhouse next to our headquarters in Made, the Netherlands. According to Yossi Shapiro, Head of R&D, this acquisition marks a significant step in Hazera’s journey to establish a strong position in the high-tech greenhouse tomato industry. He gives insight into the acquisition process, goals in research and development, and what Hazera can offer to the high-tech tomato market.
“Our goal to establish ourselves as one of the leaders in the high-tech tomato market with our mid- to long-term plan, as there is strong competition there”, Yossi says. “This goal was the primary motivation to invest in a state-of-the-art active tomato greenhouse, as you need the best facilities to compete with the best.” Hazera is empowering its tomato portfolio worldwide through the new high-tech tomato project with the strong support of Limagrain’s vegetable seed division. As the largest company in the vegetable seed industry, Limagrain Group has significantly invested in this project.
Yossi says multiple options were considered, such as renovating existing facilities or building a greenhouse from scratch. “But the answer was right in our own backyard: to buy an industry-grade, commercial greenhouse operation, that we can readily transform into a research facility with the help of our experts.” André van Zeijl, the previous owner of the greenhouse, has been an independent grower for over 25 years.
He has a lot of experience and will support the transition to a research facility.
With advanced technology and a focus on producing clean seeds through good seed and plant practices (GSPP), Hazera aims to elevate its research capabilities. Another important advantage of acquiring an existing facility, is sustainability. Re-purposing the greenhouse in Made, rather than building a new one, suits Hazera’s strategy of caring for the planet that helps us grow extraordinary seeds. We take our responsibility for the environment very seriously. Hazera has a lot of know-how and experience in breeding high-quality varieties that can be grown with reduced input. It’s great to see that a company like Hazera has such a strong focus on sustainability.
Experts in resistance, yield and taste
When talking about Hazera’s position in the high-tech tomato market, Yossi notes that “We also bring something very valuable to the table: our expertise in developing tomato varieties with strong resistance to diseases, particularly in response to ToBRFV, combined with excellent yield and taste. This can really equip growers to manage their biggest challenges. A great example of this is Pendragon, one of the ToBRFV-resistant varieties that we’ll be growing in the greenhouse. In addition, this greenhouse provides us with the opportunity to further improve yield, fruit quality, and commercial appeal of those varieties, and to implement the innovative techniques and technologies which will increase our efficiency, enhance the R&D outcomes, and accelerate time to market.”
“The Netherlands is the birthplace and center of the global high-tech tomato industry, so it is a natural location for us to launch this program”, Yossi continues. “But the goal of all our efforts is to develop hybrid high-tech tomato varieties to meet the evolving needs of our grower customers, wherever they may be, so they can serve the needs of their customers. When consumers are enjoying tasty and healthfully tomatoes grown from our seeds, we can say that we’ve been successful in our mission.”
A vision for tomorrow
“The heightened level of control and optimization in the high-tech greenhouse environment ensures that we can replicate production conditions under which we want to evaluate the varieties we are developing and advancing. That way, we aim to bring innovation and improvement to high-tech tomato markets around the world.”
“By combining our new active greenhouse research facility in Made, the expertise we have in developing leading tomato varieties, and our experience in customer engagement, we expect to play an important role in the high-tech tomato industry”, Yossi concludes. “There’s an exciting opportunity to grow this part of our business, and it starts with R&D.
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