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Dutch chili peppers gaining importance on the European market

In the ten years that Hamid Haddouch has been in the pepper business, he has not yet experienced that the Dutch habanero peppers cultivated in greenhouses are so early. Better techniques and knowledge ensure that good quality peppers can be harvested earlier. This means that Hamid and his company Chili & Pepper can start with their own product from week 12. “I expect a good season, especially the beginning, because imports from other countries are currently falling.”

More Dutch supply
The first exotic chili peppers in Dutch greenhouses are already being harvested. Hamid has seen the chili pepper cultivation in the Netherlands grow considerably in the last four to five years. “Especially because a number of growers have grown considerably in acreage,” he says. Hamid is proud that he and a handful of competitors have been able to give Dutch habanero peppers a place on the European market. “It is a niche product but quality knows no limits.”

Hamid cultivated peppers in Morocco until a few years ago. “We switched to Dutch chili peppers. These are high-quality peppers with a longer shelf life than peppers that are imported.”

Export ban Uganda
Hamid also has imported peppers in his product range. His company specializes in habanero peppers of different colors, but he also supplies spicier varieties such as Naga peppers, bird’s eye chili, and the famous Carolina Reaper. From April to November from Dutch greenhouses, but year-round also from Morocco and Uganda, a large pepper producer. “There, close to the equator, the weather conditions are good for growing peppers year-round.”

Last year, imports from the African country proved difficult. “2020 was a difficult year”, Hamid summarizes. Of course, there was the coronavirus, but at first an export ban on peppers from Uganda interfered with the trade in peppers because of the African codling moth. “The whole export stopped. As a result, everyone wanted habanero peppers, prices doubled and at one point habanero peppers were almost impossible to find.”

Imports still difficult
Prices were good here as soon as the Dutch season started. “Demand was really high. Fortunately, supply was good. You can see that customers appreciate the quality of perhaps the most beautiful peppers in the world from Dutch greenhouses.”

This winter, importing from Uganda was once again possible. However, inspections are a lot stricter, Hamid notices. “Locally, many shipments are being rejected. Every shipment has to go through a phytosanitary inspection. Many exporters are also not allowed to ship until all things are in order. In addition, you have the regular inspections on residues of plant protection products. It is currently not very easy to import chili peppers,” says Hamid. “Not to mention the increase in the prices for air freight because of the coronavirus.”

Stocking up on habanero peppers
Because of the coronavirus, fewer aircraft are flying, and that also affects the trade in chili peppers, for which cargo space in passenger aircraft is used. Moreover, the pandemic also affects the sales outlets for peppers, although Hamid sees differences between the varieties of peppers. “For us, the habanero pepper is our biggest product. Last year, you saw that people started stocking up on habanero peppers and after that sales remained good. This is because we mainly supply (Asian) supermarkets throughout Europe.”

For other types of peppers, this was different. These are often used in the hospitality industry, for example baby bell peppers. “Sales were much more difficult there and last year you had surpluses.”

Good start expected
December is a festive month with usually a good demand for chili peppers. However, past December was not that good, also for Hamid and his business. “During the second coronavirus wave, consumers were more specific in what they bought, instead of shopping for the holidays, which seemed to reduce the amount of peppers they bought in the store.”

Yet Hamid is positive about the starting Dutch chili pepper season. This is because the supply from other countries is decreasing. “You can see that there are some countries that have problems with drought and that cultivation is coming to an end there.”

It will be summer before the larger quantities from other European countries come on the market. Until then, Hamid foresees a good chili pepper season. “It is nice that in the Netherlands the knowledge of this cultivation has increased so much that we can supply the whole of Europe, even early in the season, with very good quality peppers, thanks to the growers.”

Matter of taste
Despite this, some customers want Ugandan peppers, even in the coming months. According to Hamid, this is due to the specific taste of this product. “The conditions in Uganda give the product a distinct taste that is different from peppers cultivated in a greenhouse. Those peppers are also spicy, but it’s different because you’re missing flavor. For example, in Germany, some customers ask for Ugandan chili peppers year-round.”

Brexit costs
Another major market for chili peppers is the United Kingdom. “Here they like really spicy peppers. Especially when there was a shortage of habanero peppers last year, we sold many even spicier peppers to the British.”

Whether that will happen again this season is still a question. Brexit is now a fact. “We were immediately up to a good start exporting to the United Kingdom, but you can see that the costs are rising. If the phytosanitary requirements become even stricter, the costs will increase even further. That does mean that you have to have serious quantities for this niche product if you want to be profitable. We bear the administrative burden and costs for our customers, but for a single pallet this becomes difficult. The British also import directly from exporting countries.”

Fortunately, in the Netherlands, the chili pepper is also gaining recognition. And with that also Dutch cultivation, which starts earlier every year. For Hamid, it is now time to market home-grown chili peppers under its brand Chili & Pepper, possibly together with other types of fruit and vegetables. “For example, we also do a lot of yams from Ghana, plantains, and okra. We also have the necessary customers for those products,” he concludes.

For more information:
Chili & Pepper The Netherlands

Hamid Haddouch

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

Prepared according to

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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