Gearbox receives investment of UNIIQ to develop an AI-driven grading robot for fruit and vegetables
13 February 2019
Evaluating the quality of fresh produce is still a job mainly done by hand. Gearbox Innovations developed a grading robot that combines vision technology with Artificial Intelligence to evaluate the quality of up to 100% of passing fruit and vegetables. To bring the innovation to market, Gearbox receives an investment of € 300.000 of the regional investment fund UNIIQ. The news of the investment was announced by alderman Karin Zwinkels of the Municipality of Westland, during the Horti Heroes Master Track ‘How to Finance Innovation’ in the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk, the Netherlands.
Numerous inspections between field and fork
Every year in the Netherlands, around 5.400 million kg of vegetables and 650 million kg of fruit is produced. Before a particular vegetable or piece of fruit reaches its final point of sale, it’s been through various sets of hands to guarantee its quality and to sort it into the right quality class. The vegetable is scrutinized manually on deviations in color and shape, and blemishes or damages. All because the standards and norms as set by supermarkets and other retailers are unrelenting and high. Inspection of the produce to guarantee its quality is vital, but the current manual inspections are prone to error and demand a capacity in personnel that is becoming increasingly hard to meet in a sector where staff turnover rates are high.
Gearbox’ solution: an AI-driven grading robot
Gearbox Innovations saw the added value for the different elements of the value chain if both quality control and grading were to become more reliable, more consistent, and faster. The company developed the GearVision Inspector, a stand-alone smart grading robot that is able to deliver a thorough quality analysis, and the GearVision Sorter, an in-line solution to optimally sort the produce according to its quality. The two machines combine vision technology with artificial intelligence to be able to quickly but accurately grade and consequently sort fresh fruit and vegetables. This provides the complete supply chain, from the breeder to the packaging company, with a futureproof approach to quality control that is tailored to their specific needs and requirements. A thorough report provides actionable insights on how to increase the produce’s quality. With the digitization of the grading process, a transition towards fully automated sorting and packaging of fruit and vegetables lies within reach.
Gearbox Innovation will use the UNIIQ investment to further develop the GearVision, unlocking more product varieties and applications, and to expand their activities to foreign markets. Simone Keijzer, together with Johan Kreeft founder of Gearbox Innovations, is very pleased with the investment by UNIIQ: “The GearVision allows the sector to increase both the coverage ratio and the consistency of their grading processes, while taking into account their specific wishes and ‘product recipes’. Our actionable reports create insight in growth- and harvesting data, allowing the grower to actively steer towards a higher qualitative output, and ultimately better yields. With the UNIIQ investment we can expand the GearVision’s crop- and productportfolio, and roll out the innovation internationally.”
Gearbox is also mentioned in our interactive map with hortuculture innovations
Chinese agriculture minister visits World Horti Center
21 January 2019
Qu Dongyu, the Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, visited the Netherlands today. He returned briefly to the country where he completed a key part of his scientific studies in agriculture and horticulture and met with entrepreneurs at World Horti Center. His host was Bouke Arends who was installed in mid-December as Mayor of the Municipality of Westland. Qu Dongyu was provided with an inside look into the Dutch approach to addressing global horticulture challenges. He also christened a new variety of calla lily.
The Chinese government believes Dutch know-how and technology presents major opportunities in the areas of horticulture and agriculture. In turn, the Dutch consider China one of the most important countries for exchanging and exporting knowledge.
Vice Minister Qu Dongyu himself is a prime example of this exchange process. In the mid-1990s, he conducted scientific research at the plant breeding department of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). He was the first of an impressive line of Chinese scientists who obtained a PhD with Professor Evert Jacobsen. Back in China, he rapidly climbed the administrative ladder in science and politics. On his current visit, the Vice Minister also called into the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and met with members of WUR’s executive board too.
Westland and China
The Westland greenhouse horticulture cluster collaborates closely with China. Entrepreneurs and both Chinese and Dutch governments are seeking solutions to sustainably grow food and flowers on a large scale. With this in mind, three months ago the recently launched Dutch Greenhouse Delta platform entered into a strategic partnership to develop a high-tech horticulture production centre in Jiangshan, China’s most important economic delta.
Mayor Bouke Arends: “What binds China and Westland? It is the search for continuous knowledge development and innovation to address the common challenges we face in the areas of food, energy and water. It is the quest to nurture an ecosystem where entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship can thrive. And it is the goal of building a bridge of understanding and trust for long term, win-win collaborations.”
Christening of the new calla lily, ‘Winter Jade’
In honour of the visit and long-standing Sino-Dutch relations, Van den Bos Flowerbulbs has named a new variety of calla lily after the minister. Qu officially christened the lily ‘Winter Jade’, which is the meaning of his name, Dongyu.
Van den Bos Flowerbulbs exhibits in World Horti Center all year round and is one of the largest Dutch exporters of flower bulbs to countries like China. “Developing new flower bulb varieties takes a long time. We are honoured to name this new variety after a Chinese dignitary,” says Hans Kleiwegt, CEO of Van Den Bos Flowerbulbs.
Master track | How to finance innovation | 13 Februari 2019
Are you seeking funding for your brilliant innovation or idea? Raising funds for growth and innovation can be a time-consuming activity, for start-ups as well as multinationals. In addition, there are many possibilities regarding European subsidies which remain unused. During the Master track ‘How to Finance Innovation’ on Wednesday 13 February, experts will help you with interactive sessions and tailored advice concerning funds, subsidies and other innovation initiatives. This is your chance to get to know several different fund managers, and to learn how other entrepreneurs have raised funds in the past. Sign up here: www.finance-innovation.eventbrite.com
Launch interactive map with state-of-the-art innovations and solutions
7 december 2018
Our globally renowned horticulture companies have been around for over a hundred years. Their products and innovations have been used and showcased all over the world. Thanks to cutting-edge technological product developments and sustainable cultivation techniques, Westland’s internationally oriented greenhouse horticulture companies are perfectly positioned to play a leading role in helping to secure sufficient food for the global population.
Current ‘robotics & data' innovations and ‘energy’ innovations and solutions offer insights into state-of-the-art technological developments in greenhouse horticulture.
Your company can be mentioned as a supplier or user of their horticulture innovation. Or use this interactive map on your website. Interested? Please let us know: email@example.com
Dutch Greenhouse Delta signs memorandum for long-term partnership in India World of Westland
7 December 2018
Dutch Greenhouse Delta has concluded a partnership for the next two years with INDUCED, it’s first Indian partner. The memorandum of understanding was signed today at the Agro Tech India Conference. INDUCED is part of leading food and dairy company Tasty Dairy Specialties Limited that is striving to boost the growth of agriculture and horticulture in India. Both partners will exchange knowledge in a number of areas. Complex Dutch horticultural solutions will be exported to help India respond to an increasing demand for healthy, high-quality food cultivation. A yet to be established centre of excellence will serve as a landing ground for these innovations. In turn, the Indian business community will share innovative IT knowledge with the Netherlands. Both parties also aim to achieve cross-fertilisation between biotech and life sciences.
Eric Egberts, CEO of the Dutch Greenhouse Delta foundation, signed the memorandum on behalf of the Dutch horticulture sector. Egberts envisages a local ecosystem with entrepreneurs, farmers and suppliers of technical solutions. Read more about this long-term partnership and Dutch Green House Delta: www.dutchgreenhousedelta.com
Brazil sees Westland as example for its own horticulture
A delegation of 16 representatives from the Brazilian region of Holambra has arrived in Westland for a horticulture trade mission. Alongside a visit to the World Horti Center, where a memorandum of understanding has been signed on student exchange, the delegation is also visiting various horticulture businesses in Westland and has met with Sjaak van der Tak (LTO Glaskracht) and Loek Hermans (Dutch Horticulture and Propagation Materials Top Sector).
One purpose of the visit is the signing of a memorandum of understanding for multiannual cooperation between MBO Westland institute of secondary vocational education and FAAGROH. The two organisations will work together to provide Brazilian and Dutch students with international training in horticulture. For instance, internships will be provided for MBO Westland students in Holambra and vice versa for FAAGROH students in Westland. Lentiz | Course & Consult will also develop an educational programme for Brazilian students and management.
An increasing number of regions across the world are developing horticulture, including Holambra in Brazil, originally a colony founded by Dutch settlers. Many horticulture businesses from Westland, such as Sion Orchids, have branches in Holambra. Playing host to numerous greenhouses (some up to 15 hectares in size), it is the horticulture region in Brazil.
The University of Jaguariuna, a city close to Holambra, created a faculty of horticulture (FAAGROH) a year ago. Horticulture firms and educational institutions want to work together at an international level to exchange knowledge on breeding, trade and marketing within the horticulture chain. The FAAGROH management board and the Veiling Holambra cooperative are therefore currently visiting Westland. Delegates aim to find out more about how businesses and organisations within Greenport work together.
André van Kruijssen, CEO of Veiling Holambra: “The working method in the Westland horticulture cluster is a perfect example for us. We at Veiling Holambra want to be the driving force for horticulture developments in our region and have a strong interest in exchanging knowledge with Dutch educational institutions. We work with the university faculty FAAGROH in our region of Holambra. In MBO Westland, which is located in the World Horti Center, we see a partner that will enable education and business to come together.”
During the trade mission, FAAGROH also signed an agreement with Fytagoras Leiden on a ‘PlantarPuro’ (air purifying plant) project.
Why do plants grow better in purple light?
The light from more and more greenhouses is turning the sky purple at night – why is that? Professor Leo Marcelis of Wageningen University explains.
‘Lighting has been used in greenhouses for a long time; it increases production and improves the quality of the crop. Traditionally, the lamps used in green-houses emit a yellow or orange glow, but growers are slowly turning to LED lighting. It is possible to adjust the colour of LED lighting, and it also has the benefit of being much more energy-efficient. Red light is very good for plant growth, and our research shows that mixing this with five to ten percent blue light gives the best result at the moment. In terms of energy consumption, red/ blue is also the most efficient colour. Of course, this could change again in five years’ time, because the use of LED lighting is still developing.’
Go Ahead for Chinese High-Tech Agriculture Park with Horti Center
In the coming years, China and the Netherlands are to further intensify cooperation in greenhouse horticulture. Ahead of the China-Netherlands Business Forum in The Hague, Dutch Greenhouse Delta has forged a strategic partnership with Jiashan Sino-Dutch Industrial Park. This memorandum of understanding is the starting point for the development of the Sino-Dutch High-Tech Agriculture Park to be built in China’s most important economic delta. The innovation park will also feature a replica of the World Horti Center in Westland. The memorandum was signed in the presence of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
With a strong cluster in Westland, the Netherlands is the international market leader in greenhouse horticulture. The Dutch have for decades been exchanging ‘their’ knowledge and high-tech innovations with Asian countries to grow food and flowers in a sustainable manner. The Sino-Dutch High-Tech Agriculture Park and Horti Center will form the platform for a more intensive exchange of knowledge and technology.
The Dutch business community will be given the actual space and opportunity in China to showcase the most advanced greenhouse horticulture projects. The High-Tech Agriculture Park is to take shape over five years on an area of 420 hectares, comparable to 10% of the area under glasshouse horticulture in Westland. It is part of the Jiashan Sino-Dutch Industrial Cooperation Park, which has been under development since 2014.
At the end of November, a delegation from Dutch Greenhouse Delta will travel to Jiashan to further substantiate the agreement and planning in consultation with the government, potential investors, growers’ associations and retail concerns.
How does the greenhouse horticulture sector manage to continuously reduce its use of fossil fuel?
Greenhouses have a huge energy demand and, certainly in Westland, are at the forefront of innovative and sustainable solutions. Marco van Soerland, director of the geothermal energy project Trias Westland explains.
'Growers want to work more sustainably, while also managing their energy costs. You will see all kinds of measures being taken in the greenhouses to reduce the energy and heat demand and to make use of renewable energy. It is certainly possible in and around Westland to use renewable heat as a widespread alternative to natural gas. One example is geothermal energy, but other options include heat from biomass and waste. The project Trias Westland has researched whether enough warm water can be recovered from a depth of four kilometres to meet a significant part of the heat demand in Westland. It was the first time that we have drilled to such depths in the Netherlands. Warm water is pumped up and sent to the greenhouses through a warm water network, then the cooled water is pumped back into the ground to be warmed again by the earth’s core. Many more greenhouse growers in Westland are coming together to research, and switch over to, renewable heat.’
The Dutch horticulture sector reflects a dynamic and pioneering entrepreneurship
‘The Dutch horticulture sector reflects a dynamic and pioneering entrepreneurship. This is absolutely evident in the agricultural export figures of our country in 2017. Together, we have achieved a record sum of nearly 92 billion euro! The Dutch horticulture sector plays a prominent role in this. More and more horticulture businesses work according to the principle of Het Nieuwe Telen (literally: a new way of cultivating). This is a principle that focuses on sustainable use of energy, water and crop protection. This can result in saving energy of 35 to 50%. In Westland, all the links in the chain collaborate in order to become the first climate-neutral region in the Netherlands by 2030. This is a goal that we look forward to realising.’
Queen Máxima opens world’s first knowledge & innovation horticulture centre in Westland
7 March 2018
World Horti Center is the worldwide knowledge & innovation centre in the heart of horticulture
This morning, Her Majesty Queen Máxima has officially opened the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk. The worldwide knowledge & innovation centre in the heart of Dutch greenhouse horticulture is the first of its kind in the world as a result of the cooperation between education, research, government and the business community. Minister of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality, Carola Schouten, was also present at the official opening and spoke about how this underlines the leading international position of the horticulture sector.
All the links within the horticulture chain – around 100 companies – exhibit the latest innovations and development all year round in the World Horti Center. Practical education on MBO (secondary professional education), HBO (higher professional education) and university levels are offered in the heart of the sector. Students at all levels come in contact with a multidimensional career in horticulture. Schools and business carry out research in sustainable applications in order to respond to worldwide issues such as food security, food safety, water management, sustainability and health. As a showcase of the horticultural sector, the centre expects around 25,000 professional local and international visitors annually and it serves as a breeding ground for new initiatives, such as HortiHeroes, an incubator and talent programme for the sector.
More information: World Horti Center
Meet the Westland Team at Fruit Logistica
30 January 2018
From 7-9 february 2018 the Westland Team will be present at Fruit Logistica (hall 3.2, stand D-22) to help you on your way when establishing or expanding your business in Westland. Business parcs ABC Westland and Royal Flora Holland, the Municipality of Westland and Westland Marketing link new businesses to businesses already established in Westland. In addition we provide a full-service solution to businesses when establishing or expanding in Westland. Whether it regards additional business premises, support during licensing, compliance with legislation and regulations or connecting with other businesses. The Westland team quickly helps you on your way.
Westland has a unique position when it comes to agro-logistics. Due to its strategic positioning, Westland can provide 500 million consumers in Europe with fresh products. It is a location that stands out in connections: a cluster of diversity of businesses in the sector, where all activities come together and reinforce each other. A place where all links in the chain are represented and that is governed by a very good work ethic. This implies synergy, dynamics and clout. This makes Westland your perfect gateway to Europe.
Fruit Logistica covers every single sector of the fresh produce business and provides a complete picture of the latest innovations, products and services at every link in the international supply chain. It thus offers superb networking and contact opportunities to the key decision-makers in every sector of the industry. 3.077 exhibitors and 76.000 visitors attend Fruit Logistica every year to realise their full business potential within the international fresh produce trade. Companies from across the entire fresh produce sector – from global players to small and medium-sized companies and organisations from all over the world - will again be present in Berlin. The entire spectrum of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector.
More information: www. fruitlogistica.de
Dutch Agri Food Week
9-19 oct 2017
The Dutch Agri Food Week focuses on food and food production. Various parties from the agri-food sector will all be participating in the Dutch Agri Food Week. Farmers, businesses from the supply and processing industry, government and scientists will all show how they are working to ensure the availability of safe and healthy food for us and later, for the global population of 9 billion people. The cooperative partners are: Agrifood Capital, Food Valley NL, Greenport Westland-Oostland and Brightlands Greenport Venlo, with support from the Agri & Food top sector.
More information: www.dutchagrifoodweek.nl/en
Visit Japanese business delegation Kyushu Westland
11 september 2017
Japanese Business delegation Kyushu Economic Federation visited Westland Municipality in Naaldwijk. Delegationleader Mr. Koichi Koike from The Miyazaki Bank is looking for actions to increase added value in Agriculture/Horticulture development in Kyushu. The Japanese delegation visited the Municipality of Westland to learn from the horticultural development in this area. More horticulture projects in collaboration between Dutch and Japanese companies are needed.
“Horticulture is the purveyor of health”
17 July 2017
On 8 September the Healthy Food Congress will take place in the World Forum in The Hague. It will precede a Food congress for doctors lasting several days. How long before doctors will be prescribing sweet peppers instead of pills? The Dutch government aims to turn the Netherlands into the healthiest delta in the world. With eight medical universities and the best horticultural industry worldwide we certainly have all the ingredients needed to realise that aim. The two sectors should interact more closely with one another. This congress will be very helpful in this respect.
The congress will focus on four themes: ‘The first 1000 Days’, ‘Best practices in improving health’, ‘Personalized Nutrition’ and ‘Food Trends’. “The congress will be interesting for a very broad public,” says Rob Baan, one of the congress’s initiators. “Medical science advises us to consume more vegetables, and that’s something the horticultural sector should be exploiting. Horticulture is the purveyor of health. Scientists offer the fruit and vegetable sector clearly formulated unique opportunities. A must for anyone involved in food horticulture.”
Generating more attention for healthy food is Rob Baan’s key concern. Earlier this year he opened a canteen for the staff of his company Koppert Cress in the town of Monster. His ambition is for it to be the healthiest canteen in the world. In the fourth part of the programme - ‘Food Trends’ - he will talk about his experiences and those of his staff, his struggle with the tax department and the positive vibe that his initiative has created around Koppert Cress. Bob Hutten, CEO of Hutten Catering, will in this part of the programme discuss ‘Nudging and Food design’. The American professor of Food Marketing John Stanton will explain the impact of taste, health and prices, while Henk Kivits of the Van den Boer Group will share his experiences with Food for Care, a unique catering concept in health care that is based on the principle that a healthy diet contributes towards a patient’s recovery.
The complete programme can be found at www.healthyfoodcongress.com, where you can also order admission tickets.
Meeting & webinar Colombia
30 may 2017
Colombia has grown to become the biggest flower exporter to the US and is the second biggest cut flower exporter in the world, right behind the Netherlands. What are the opportunities for Dutch companies in the Colombian horticulture sector and how do you make the first contacts?
During an interactive meeting about Colombia at Sion De Lier, we will delve deeper into these questions and sketch the opportunities for the Dutch horticulture (Ornamental plants, vegetable cultivation, and supply) in Colombia. Part of the event is a webinar, in which experts from Colombia, Costa Rica and Miami express their opinions.
Mayor Van der Tak takes part in vegetable congress in Russia
5 April 2017
Mayor Van der Tak from the municipality of Westland visits Russia on the 4th and 5th of April to take part in the International Agrarian Forum on Vegetable Crops, VegCult 2017. He has been invited for this event by the Russian ambassador in Holland. He has taken part in a table discussion with the Russian Minister of agriculture and several other Russian guests, among which the governor of the Moscow area.
VegCult is a major international vegetable congress in which last year 2.000 visitors originating from 35 different countries participated. National and regional governments, the Russian and international companies and investors together make the target audience for this event. The Russian ministry of agriculture is intimately involved in organizing this event. In Russia large investments in agricultural projects take place at the moment, in which also the Westland greenhouse builders play an important role. The Moscow area is ahead of other regions in this development.
Mayor Van der Tak wants to increase the opportunities for the Dutch Horticulture in Russia. He discusses several developments and technological innovations in the vegetable sector.
Westland at Venture Café Rotterdam
17 March 2017
On the 16th of March LIFE Rotterdam and Venture Cafe presented a ‘high-tech’ program in CIC Rotterdam on inspiring and sustainable innovations in agro food, industrial biotech and clean-tech. In these branches of the market innovation is impressive coming from start-ups, but also from reputable companies with a long tradition who are adapting in times are change. During this event, Westland was represented by Jan Westra, strategic business developer from Priva, and Maurice Wubben from Vers+.
The Sustainable Urban Delta as driver for innovation, food, health and sustainability!
During the Venture Café, Jan Westra from Priva zoomed in on the field of urban agriculture or urban farming, where the horticulture and building worlds come together. Priva provides solutions for horticulture, building automation and anything in between, with a unique combination of software, hardware and services. Priva acts in two markets: horticulture and building management systems. In both fields they contribute in business development and research of new techniques in these fields. They are involved in many initiatives worldwide as they try to solve challenges on these subjects.
Vegetables and fruits can do so much more for our health!
Vegetables and fruits taste good and are healthy, but do people know enough about why these products are healthier and what they contain? Renowned companies based in Westland, Best Fresh Group and Koppert Cress, together with Innovation Quarter have taken the initiative with Vers+ to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables. It is all about letting the Dutch eat healthier. Maurice Wubben told about the mission of Vers+, the projects and pilots.
Holland represented at Horti ASIA 2017
16 March 2017
The Horti ASIA in Bangkok, is an international trade fair for horticulture and floriculture. This year, Holland will be present with a Holland exhibition stand, a seminar and a network meeting with renowned Asian investors. This year the event is being held, from 15-17 March, and for the 5th time. The fair targets more than 200 exhibitors from 20 countries covering the full supply chain of the flower and food industry, such as breeding and seeding technologies, fertilizers, planting and cultivation technology, climate control equipment, grading and greenhouse equipment, packaging, as well as warehouse facilities for fruit, vegetables and flowers. The event will attract over 8. 000 visitors from ASEAN states and other countries around the world.
Queen Maxima visits Koppert Cress
7 March 2017
Koppert Cress specialises in a variety of edible plants and flowers that are used by national and international chefs, restaurants and hotels. The company won the Koning Willem I Award for sustainable entrepreneurship.
By winning the award Koppert Cress was visited in Westland (Monster) by Queen Maxima of The Netherlands and was welcomed by the Mayor of Westland Sjaak Van der Tak.
The highness was astonished as she toured the company, admiring a variety of plants, flowers and specialist dishes made using them. Maxima also met esteemed chefs who talked her through their dishes while she got the chance to taste and smell a variety of plants.