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“Nice weather made it a top strawberry week”

“Nice weather made it a top strawberry week”
On Wednesday, 31 March, Coöperatie Hoogstraten officially opened the Belgian strawberry season. That was from their new office building. Via a live stream, Wim Peeters of wholesaler Delidis bought the first of these soft fruits. The cooperative doubled the amount he paid to €8,000. They will donate that money to Het GielsBos. This is a home for people with mental disabilities in Belgium.

“We officially started with strawberries about ten days later this year. That was because of the several dark February days. But, the past few days’ nice weather means we can make up for that,” says Luc Bruneel. “The sunny weather stimulates strawberry demand. So, we’re having a top week. There’s high demand, and supply is still limited. Prices are, therefore, good at around €8/kg. That’s a nice price for the grower and it allows for sales.”

How the season will progress is still anyone’s guess. “It largely depends on the weather, both for cultivation and consumption. “But strawberries are a treat. We experienced that in the past corona year. People see strawberries as a healthy but also a fun, tasty product. They look forward to it in spring.”

“However, there’s also increased demand for Hoogstraten strawberries during the winter. All Belgian retailers continued to sell our product this winter. That shows that consumers consciously choose good quality strawberries. And that the Hoogstraten brand has become a true, permanent fixture on store shelves,” Luc explains.

Luc Bruneel in front of the new offices.

Flavor tomatoes segment grows
In 2020, there were 223 farmers affiliated with Coöperatie Hoogstraten. “Most cultivate strawberries, but our range includes other products too. These are tomatoes, bell peppers, and other greenhouse vegetables and soft fruit. In 2020’s supply top 3, tomatoes were at number 1. Strawberries and bell peppers followed. Last year, there was significant growth in special tomatoes’ supply.”

“That segment continues to grow. One of our largest growers has another nice expansion planned for this year. That will increase the supply of flavor tomatoes by 15%.” The cooperative also considers lit tomato cultivation a success. “We have customers who no longer switch to Spanish or North African tomatoes. They deliberately opt for Belgian tomatoes,” adds Luc.

Hoogstraten’s strawberry ambassadors, known as ‘Ghesellen’.

Investing in new varieties
“Lit strawberry cultivation acreage, too, has grown from five to eight hectares this year. That shows that the demand for these strawberries is on the rise.” The cooperative doesn’t only invest in this type of strawberry cultivation. It also invests in new strawberry varieties. “Years ago, Elsanta was one of the most sought-after varieties.”

“But in recent years, there’s been a lot of development in Sonsation. This variety lets us offer beautiful, tasty strawberries early in the season. The newcomer Limalexia is also doing well. The development of new strawberry varieties has gained momentum lately. There are still nice developments in the pipeline, too,” continues Bruneel.

A Coöperatie Hoogstraten/Danone collaboration.

Coöperatie Hoogstraten introduced its cardboard punnetts two years ago. This container has since become well-established. “These punnets are folded by machine and placed in cardboard boxes. We have special boxes and punnets for our Gold Strawberries. And we have packaging specifically for the open field strawberries. These boxes go directly to growers who only have to fill the punnets. This saves a lot of work. The punnets have codes that shoppers can scan. They show who cultivated the strawberries within. This is a great local and short-chain story example,” concludes Luc.

For more information:
Luc Bruneel
Coöperatie Hoogstraten
Kluis Z.1 – 1050, 59 Loenhoutseweg
2320, Hoogstraten, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 334 00 211


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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