Chilean producer awarded prize for mobile lettuce cultivation system
The producer is located in Chile's V region (Valparaiso) and grows several lettuce varieties including Lolla Rossa and Lollo Bionda using a novel system that automatically moves the plants around the hydroponic greenhouse as needed.
Hidropónicos La Cruz products are sold under the name Pura Hoja.
"At the request of one of our partners we began researching how to grow hydroponic lettuce and realized there were several ways of doing it," Pura Hoja general manager Víctor Ulloa told www.freshfruitportal.com.
One method that caught his eye was being used in Belgium, and so a visit was arranged to see the system in action first hand.
"We were able to verify that this is what we wanted to do - implement a highly productive system that used the least amount of labor," Ulloa said.
Operations began in Chile during 2011, since which time the company has undergone two expansions.
Ulloa explained the entire gutter system holding the plant was moved with steel rods to a different part of the greenhouse before returning for the next one.
The title of 'Agricultural Innovator 2014' was awarded to the company in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA).