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“Many of our lettuce varieties eventually end up on cruise ships”

From oakleaf and butterhead to Lolla Rossa and Romaine lettuce. There are enough lettuce varieties to choose from at the Belgian horticultural company, Maes Wilfried. “We founded the company in the early 80s. And we’ve been growing all kinds of lettuce since then,” says Myriam Maes. She began the business with her husband, Wilfried.

“Over the years, our range has expanded considerably. We now cultivate about ten different varieties to client order.” The company used to be affiliated with the auction. But in 2000, Wilfried and Myriam decided to go their own way. They’ve been independent ever since.

“Unfortunately, we had a bad year because of COVID-19. Most of our production goes to a Dutch wholesaler who supplies cruise ships. But because of the pandemic, those couldn’t sail. However, we’d already ordered the plants. That left us with many products with no destination. We also supply wholesalers who, in turn, supply retailers and the hospitality industry. So, this year, we’re going to add cauliflower and savoy cabbage. That’s to stay busy and fill last year’s gap,” says Myriam.

Wilfried Maes

Myriam and Wilfried not only farm in full soil and a greenhouse. They also use modern hydroponics methods. These include a gutter and floatation system. “In 2009, we started outdoors with a gutter system trial set-up. We began with this early on. But we weren’t the first farm with a modern cultivation system.”

“We added the floating system later. This system not only prevents excess soil in the product. It also keeps out many soil diseases. When we switched to this system, fusarium wasn’t such a big problem yet. Not in lettuce cultivation. Nowadays, it is. But thanks to our different cultivation methods, we can respond to it well,” explains Myriam.

Photo: Codema

“The farming method doesn’t affect the product’s quality much. The lettuce we cultivate on the floating system grows faster. But there’s little difference in flavor compared to those cultivated outdoors. The main difference is that the weather, like rain, can affect open field lettuce. The lettuce grown in the greenhouse is protected from that.”

These growers don’t have any big plans for the future yet. “The most important thing is that we can quickly go back to the ‘old normal’. We need to start moving nice volumes again. We’re not getting any younger either,” Myriam concludes.
Photo: Codema

For more information:
Myriam Maes
Maes Wilfried
15 Heir Street
B-2801 Heffen, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 475 617 317


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%.

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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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