GreenTech: High demand for hort tech expertise - FreshFruitPortal.com

GreenTech experiencing sky-high demand for horticultural technology expertise

One of the most prominent trends in the global horticultural industry in recent years has been an increased focus on new technologies and efficiencies in order to produce more with fewer resources.

This has driven a thirst for knowledge and business connections in the sector, which Netherlands-based GreenTech has been quenching with its popular events and B2B online community.

FreshFruitPortal.com caught up with GreenTech's director of horticulture Mariska Dreschler to hear about the massive demand for its inaugural event taking place in Mexico this year, the need for the sector to stay connected, and the importance of countries being able to fulfill local demand.

"At GreenTech, we really want to be that sweet spot where we can provide all the best information if you want to produce in the most efficient way possible," Dreschler said.

GreenTech's director of horticulture Mariska Dreschler

The company focuses on crop optimization technologies and other innovations in the realm of sustainability for fruits, vegetables and flowers.

GreenTech's first physical event was held in Amsterdam in 2014, a year after the company was founded by a team of agricultural industry stakeholders. The show's first edition received some 300 exhibitors and 8,500 visitors.

Since then, there was been such high interest that the event has moved from being biennial to annual, and by last year the figures had grown to 480 exhibitors and 12,500 visitors.

GreenTech's expansion into the Americas

Greentech America's very first event was due to take place in Mexico this March. However, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, it has now been postponed to August 25-27. GreenTech Amsterdam has similarly moved but from June 2020 to Oct. 20-22.

Dreschler explained that the team also wanted to eventually do spinoff events in growing markets to complement the flagship show in the Netherlands.

"In Amsterdam, we have a really global overview. Here you find worldwide trends, developments, innovations and best practices. But if you look at target groups - growers in Mexico for example, which we have now as our main focus point - of course we can’t attract them all to Amsterdam," she said.

"We still attract lots of CEOs from that region, but with this regional show we can reach many more people in the agricultural market that are really involved and invested in the growing process. We can mold it to the regional needs, like climatic and cultural needs, and we can attract even more people."

The use of greenhouses and horticultural technology has increased rapidly in Mexico over recent years. Dreschler explained Mexican growers have good access to big data, greenhouse technology and automation systems.

"It's a really big and interesting market that has adapted to use innovations to produce as sustainably as possible," she said.

There are expected to be some 120 exhibitors at GreenTech Americas, which will feature an in-depth education program. There is set to be a large attendance of industry stakeholders from Latin America, as well as from the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Dreschler said that not only will attendees learn about new technologies and how to get the highest yields with as few inputs as possible, but they will also be able to meet other business people from across the supply chain.

"If you want to know how to grow your crop optimally, then you should go to GreenTech. If you look at the technology suppliers, they know that they participate in a show in which they are surrounded by other professionals they can team up with and the right growers and investors to do business with," she said.

In the future, Dreschler said GreenTech would eventually like to expand its events into Asia to meet the growing demand

Importance of staying connected

GreenTech is launching its latest event amid increased interest from both the food industry and consumers in aspects like sustainability, locality, food security - the latter of which has gained attention in recent weeks.

"Now, for example, looking at the Covid-19 crisis, you see that food security is so important - that you can produce it in your own control as a country," she said.

And GreenTech doesn't only facilitate knowledge sharing and business connections through its physical events, also but through its B2B online platform.

Dreschler said this is a smaller area of the company but one that is currently seeing soaring growth amid rising global demand for information on horticultural technology, best practices and business contacts.

"Despite the crisis about food security and food safety, it will be important for us to stay in contact online during this time. And in a few months' time we expect to also physically again and safe to meet each to find good solutions to feed the world," she said.

Photo credit: Floris Heuer