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Greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands: ‘Love your people like your crop’

Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands launched the campaign ‘Proud employers, driven employees’ on Friday 18 June, with the slogan ‘Love your people like your crop’.

Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands launched the campaign ‘Proud employers, driven employees’ on Friday 18 June, with the slogan ‘Love your people like your crop’. The initiative aims to make entrepreneurs in the sector even more aware of their responsibilities and obligations towards their (international) employees.
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Greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands: 'Love your people like your crop' 88

The central platform for this initiative is the website ‘ proudewerkgeversindekas.nl ‘. ‘The reason for this initiative and the master plan for International Employees presented earlier this year can be guessed at,’ says Adri Bom-Lemstra, chairman of Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands. ‘Corona has put the position of international employees under the magnifying glass.’

Often negative examples were also related to greenhouse horticulture. ‘Certainly not always right’, says Peter Loef, policy specialist Labor at Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands. ‘We showed the Roemer Committee various companies where entrepreneurs had arranged the deployment of international employees well, including housing through a recognized employment agency.’

It must be better

Adri Bom-Lemstra realizes that as long as there are exceptions, the media knows where to find them: ‘So if we can do even better, we have to do better.’ Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands wants to be the entrepreneurial organization of companies that give their employees just as much attention as their crops.

If we eliminate the excesses, an example sector remains rest

‘It is a fact that international employees are necessary for greenhouse horticulture. That fact brings with it responsibilities, which entrepreneurs should be well aware of’, emphasizes Peter Loef. ‘If we can banish excesses together, we will have a sector that can serve as an example of how it can be done, how it should be done. The media can no longer ignore that,’ says the policy specialist.

Flex work essential

In addition, the campaign is a clear signal to politicians. ‘The government may demand that cultivation companies treat their employees well. On the other hand, we expect the government to monitor abuses and deal with offenders.’

‘Governments, politicians and the Social and Economic Council (SER) must also realize that the deployment of international employees is largely based on seasonal work on cultivation companies. Flex work is and will remain a hallmark of greenhouse horticulture’, Adri Bom-Lemstra explains.

Greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands: 'Love your people like your crop' 89

Take responsibility

‘Love your people like your crop’ is the message that the sector will expressly convey in the campaign ‘Proud employers, passionate employees’.

‘Entrepreneurs may hold each other accountable on matters that are less neatly arranged, but primarily each employer must take his own responsibility,’ says Adri Bom-Lemstra at the start of the labor campaign.

Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands
Glastuinbouw Netherlands: ‘Love your people like your crop’

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Labelling

“Natural Branding”: Made in Germany

The term “Natural Branding” was applied by the Laserfood company as a word trademark, but not as a technology. However, on 5 May 2020, this trademark “Natural Branding” was declared invalid by the EUIPO (Invalidity No. 000029701C) due to its descriptive character. For this reason, EcoMark – as well as any other company – is allowed to use the description “Natural Branding” for laser marking of fruits and vegetables. The proceedings are currently still pending in the court of appeal. It is expected that the new decision will confirm this, as no new evidence was presented in the appeal.

The mentioned regulation 510/2013 is about the use of iron oxides and hydroxides (E 172) as contrast enhancers after fruit laser processing, not about the laser process itself. The use of laser technology for fruits and vegetables is not a protected process and is therefore permitted to virtually anyone. In this respect, there can be no question of “fraudulent behavior by competitors”. The only protected process that exists is a patent (see also Regulation 510/2013) for spraying fruits and vegetables with a special liquid after laser treatment. However, the liquid is not approved for organic products, and there is no connection to the term “natural branding”. That is why, in the organic sector, only the pure laser technology is used, which is not patented.

In 2018, EOSTA won the award for sustainable packaging, not with the technology of the company Laserfood, but for the basic use of laser technology instead of packaging. At that time, EOSTA was also already in possession of a Natural Branding machine from the company EcoMark Ltd.

The term “Natural Branding” had demonstrably been used by EOSTA and EcoMark for a long time when Laserfood was still using the term “natural light labeling”. It was not until “natural branding” had become accepted as a term for the laser labeling of fruits and vegetables that the company Laserfood applied for the trademark “natural branding” and only then used it itself.

The Laserfood company is not the inventor of the technique for laser branding fruits and vegetables, nor is it the market leader. The technology has also been continuously optimized for use on fruits and vegetables. For example, EcoMark now offers special laser techniques for specific products that are not offered by any other machine manufacturer.

“Building your own laser makes no economic sense when there are good systems ready to buy,” says Richard Neuhoff, managing director of EcoMark Ltd. “Sure – it saves money to buy the laser components cheaply,” Neuhoff adds. “However, the development effort for a good laser is high, and to offer worldwide service for it is not possible for small companies like EcoMark,” he said. That only leads to dissatisfied customers!”

Bild2eco

EcoMark Ltd focuses on developing its own software to achieve competitive advantages in handling and for processes, ultimately increasing productivity. There is currently no faster product recognition than EcoMark. “With our concept, we can easily respond to customers’ needs and thus increase productivity. After all, in addition to the environmental reasons for Natural Branding, it is productivity and thus the profitability of the marking that is decisive in the end. That’s where EcoMark can score with the new “NB 12003 Professional” machine.” The fast 3D camera evaluation for product recognition combined with 120W laser power could already sell EcoMark several times.

“Currently, our NB machines are mostly used for organic product marking. However, due to their cost-effectiveness, they are now also increasingly requested for conventional products. It is not possible to mark more cheaply than with a laser, especially for large quantities.”

EcoMark’s claim is that every customer is able to react immediately to the degree of ripeness of the fruit, for example, or to create new products with new logos themselves. After all, this is the daily routine for our customers. If help is needed, however, it is usually very quick, so that the support is usually not charged for. “In the meantime, we live from our good reputation and further recommendations,” says Richard Neuhoff, managing director of EcoMark Ltd.

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Asia

Fruit salon – prices are the same as in a jewelry store: the most expensive fruit store operates in Japan

The Japanese are more than extravagant people, they always come up with something, go ahead of the rest of the world. This time they distinguished themselves with the world’s most expensive fruit salon.

Sembikiya is essentially a fruit shop, but the goods here are so expensive and the interior of the store resembles a jewelry salon, so “fruit salon” is a rather apt name.

This is the main store of the Japanese fruit giant Sembikia. It has been run by the same family since 1834. At the time, it was an ordinary fruit shop, but one day the second generation wife of the owner of the shop decided that they could make money in another way.

So, this is more of a gift shop than a store. About 80–90% of these goods are bought as a gift, because in Japan it is customary to give expensive fruits for official events (weddings, business negotiations and hospital visits).

Square watermelon – for only $ 212.

$ 69 for a package of royal strawberries (12 pieces).

Or a watermelon denuke for $ 127 ???

By the way, in 2011, farmers from Hokkaido were very sad because the price of these watermelons fell: the most expensive of them was then sold for “only” $ 4,000. Only 100 of these watermelons are grown in Hokkaido every year.

Yubari melons (one for $ 160 or two for $ 265). These are the most expensive fruits on earth. Once such a melon was sold at an auction for $ 23,500.

What’s so special about them? First, they are grown in ideal greenhouses and covered with hats to keep them from drying out in the sun. Each plant produces only one fruit, and to get the sweetest fruits, farmers cut the fruits ahead of schedule.
The Sembikia family claims that it was she who started the tradition of giving expensive fruits.

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Market

Generational change at KWS

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At this year’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, seed specialist KWS will be initiating a generational change to be implemented in several steps. Continuity, family tradition and expertise are the focus of the future Supervisory and Executive Board line-ups.

Andreas J. Büchting (74), Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA and general partner KWS SE, will resign from his position as scheduled at the end of his period in office in December 2022. At the request of the KWS SE family shareholders Büchting and Oetker, the current spokesperson of the Executive Board, Hagen Duenbostel (51), will be recommended as his successor starting in 2025 at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on December 6, 2022, and will subsequently begin the customary two-year cooling-off period on this date. It is intended that the former spokesperson of the Executive Board, Philip von dem Bussche (71), will assume the office of Chairman of the Supervisory Board on an interim basis through the end of 2024.

Felix Büchting (47) will succeed Hagen Duenbostel as the Executive Board spokesperson. With these decisions, the two top management positions will be filled for the long term.

Overview of the intended changes in the Executive Board and areas of responsibility:

  • End of 2021: Léon Broers will leave the KWS Executive Board as scheduled. Felix Büchting will assume responsibility of Research and Breeding. Peter Hofmann will assume responsibility of Cereals, Vegetables, Oilseed Rape/Special Crops & Organic Seed.
  • January 2022: Nicolás Wielandt, currently Head of Corn Europe, will join the KWS Executive Board. He will take over responsibility for Corn Europe (Peter Hofmann) and Corn South America (Hagen Duenbostel).
  • Fiscal Year 2021/2022: Responsibility for Corporate Governance, Compliance and Risk Management will be allocated to CFO Eva Kienle.
  • January 2023: Felix Büchting will assume the position Spokesperson of the Executive Board and responsibility for Group Strategy from Hagen Duenbostel. Nicolás Wielandt will take charge of Corn North America and Corn China and will therefore be responsible for the entire Corn segment.

KWS is a seed specialist among the world’s leading seed companies and has been independently managed and sustainably developed by the founding families since 1856. With the appointment of Felix Büchting as a seventh-generation representative of the founding family, and Marie Th. Schnell, who in 2016 succeeded her father Arend Oetker as a member of the Supervisory Board, the Büchting and Oetker shareholder families have underpinned their personal dedication and commitment to the company.

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