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A unique project for Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects in Abu Dhabi

Armela Farms is a large-scale producer, packer and distributor of water-grown lettuce in the United Arab Emirates. The company's mission is to produce high-quality lettuce with a high nutritional value in order to contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Following the launch of the first production location in 2016, research was carried out into techniques, varieties and optimal climate conditions. They had their first harvest in August 2018. The construction of a new production location has recently started and is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2021: the largest fully automated lettuce greenhouse in the United Arab Emirates. Which smart solutions are being applied at Armela Farms? How does the customer experiences this?

Excellent horticultural technology
Armela Farms chose Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects as a turnkey supplier for the new production facility. They will use specialised technologies from various Dutch suppliers and our colleagues at Patron Agri Systems. In collaboration with these partners, Armela Farms will realise a two-hectare, fully automated, data-driven cultivation company – the largest of its kind in the United Arab Emirates. The company is located in Abu Dhabi and will be able to grow over nine million lettuce heads per year, which amounts to 2.3 million kilograms per year. Harvesting will take place all year round.

Van der Hoeven has now proven that its ModulAIR system functions perfectly in desert climates with high temperatures and humidity levels. This project will once again confirm that a climate can be created inside the greenhouse regardless of the climatic conditions outside. In addition, the ModulAIR system ensures that the crop is 100% pesticide free.

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From traditional hydroponic to data-driven
“The new facility will, for example, enable us to monitor the evaporation of a single plant at any given time and many other advanced parameters required for optimum plant grown and output”, says Yazan Abu Jaish (Managing Partner, Armela Farms) about their transition from traditional hydroponic farming to data driven farming.

Surpass expectations with smart solutions
Sales Manager Bas Duijvestijn (Van der Hoeven) talks about the collaboration with the client: “The team from Armela Farms has a lot of cultivation experience in the Middle East. They really challenged us in the design phase, because they knew what they wanted to achieve with the new facility. Thanks to our extensive experience with similar projects in the region, we managed to come up with a comprehensive solution together, which stands out from previous projects. It's fantastic to have a partner with whom we can collaborate on that level and jointly optimise our technologies."

Construction for this project began in October and completion is scheduled for the summer of 2021.

On 22 October 2020, Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects hosted the fifth ModulAIR Platform. Previous editions took place at client sites such as Sundrop in Australia and Tom d'Aqui in France, but this time an online version was organised: the ModulAIR Platform Online. Clients from across the globe came together at the same time, in the early European morning.

During the Online Platform, there were various knowledge sessions covering topics such as the latest developments in the field of cultivation in the semi-closed ModulAIR greenhouse. Following Van der Hoeven's victory as winners of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge in June this year, there was also an in-depth explanation of autonomous cultivation and the knowledge that is being implemented for a large number of clients in Europe and Australia by our team of specialists and experts. Clients were also told about innovations and R&D developments in the area of sustainability that Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects is currently working on.

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Leuven, Belgium & Den Hoorn, the Netherlands - 15 June 2020 - Arvesta, the full-service partner of farmers and horticulturists, based in Belgium, continues its international growth and takes a minority shareholding in Van der Hoeven Horticultural projects, a Dutch company that provides state-of-the-art solutions in the area of horticultural technology and globally one of the fastest growing players in this sector.

Van der Hoeven, based in Den Hoorn (the Netherlands) develops, implements and maintains top-tech solutions for horticulture. This includes turnkey projects with cutting-edge technology developed in house that is both innovative and sustainable. Thanks to a strong team with its own engineering and R&D, Van der Hoeven is a leading global player in the implementation of large horticultural projects. Van der Hoeven focuses on complete solutions for the production of safe healthy crops, with a maximum yield and minimum use of water, nutrients, energy and labour.

The construction of this unique project has started: not only the first semi-closed glass lettuce greenhouse in Egypt, but anywhere on the African continent. Just outside Cairo, Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects will deliver a turn-key project in which both climate and plant density are fully optimised for the entire cultivation process. The total size of the greenhouse is approximately 2.5 hectares, in which high-quality herbs and lettuce will be grown. Which techniques and solutions are used? And what does this yield for the customer?

Excellent in horticultural technology
In 2018 Van der Hoeven began to work closely with a major regional investor along with an experienced local team of growers and engineers, to build the continent’s first top-tech horticultural project. The Van der Hoeven team set to work on the complex issue: adapting the European standard designs to fit local circumstances, to build a project with the most advanced greenhouse technology.

"Van der Hoeven excels in Artificial Intelligence during the competition"

Never before has a team including a company that designs and delivers turnkey greenhouse projects, won the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge. During this competition, artificial intelligence (AI) takes on human operated horticulture by growing cherry tomatoes in a fully automated greenhouse. Through the development of algorithms and with the use of data, tomatoes have successfully been grown without human interference. It was announced this morning that the jury had selected Team Automatoes as the overall winner of this year’s competition by a unanimous decision.

Leonard Baart de la Faille is R&D engineer at Van der Hoeven and has been involved in this challenge from the very beginning as Automatoes’ team captain. Other team members originate from KeyGene, Hoogendoorn Growth Management and TU Delft. Van der Hoeven strongly believes in the application of data and algorithms for crop management: “We have taken a huge step in the right direction and with the knowledge we have obtained, we can optimize our crop consultancy through the use of data,” says Leonard.

 

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