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.
A great complementarity with Van der Hoeven is a huge asset
This investment is fully in line with Arvesta’s strategy to continue its international growth. Niek Depoorter, Business Unit Director Agri Horti at Arvesta: “We are particularly excited about this cooperation because of the strong complementary between the two companies. We are both currently already global players in top-tech agriculture and horticulture, each with our own expertise and knowhow. Arvesta’s knowhow in the area of cultivation advice also fits perfectly with Van der Hoeven’s special knowledge of engineering and R&D. Moreover, this participation will also enable Arvesta to continue to rapidly develop its role as an innovative company with sustainable solutions for Belgium horticulture and raise the sector to an even higher level. This strategic partnership fits perfectly with Arvesta’s long-term vision to become an even stronger full-service partner, both in Belgium and abroad. We are convinced that, based on this state-of-the-art horticultural technology, we can continue to build on agriculture for the future that is both digital and sustainable.
A strong basis for the future
“This stake by Arvesta arrives at the right moment for our company,” according to Peter Spaans and Martin Steentjes, both directors at Van der Hoeven. “A few years ago, we have formulated a long-term strategy in which we have rooted our vision about innovation and technology. This has also led to our wish to lay down strategic partnerships which fit well with our client focus and our corporate culture. Van der Hoeven recently also took over Enthoven-Patron, an installation company in international horticulture. We are convinced that Arvesta’s stake will enable us to realize our strong ambition which will allow us to ensure our customers the best performing complete solutions and this for the next decennia.”
Together with Arvesta, the current management of Van der Hoeven will continue to play an important role in the strategic expansion of the company, in which Arvesta’s participation will be increased further.
With an increasing world population, falling land availability and an increased demand for safe and healthy food, the need for high-tech horticultural solutions will only increase. Together with Van der Hoeven, Arvesta aims to become the absolute market leader in the top segment of horticulture by further organic growth and acquisitions.
Thanks to its unique expertise and innovative smart-farming solutions, Arvesta is building sustainably on the agriculture of the future. We help farmers grow and increase their yields. With 1,900 experts and more than 40 strong brands, Arvesta is a true knowledge centre for all types of farmers, as well as consumers. With 250 AVEVE shops, we work in the animal feed, agriculture and horticulture, flour, machinery and retail sectors. As a full-service provider for farmers and growers, Arvesta is the market leader in Belgium and is internationally active with branches in the Netherlands, France and Germany. As a result, we achieve an annual turnover of €1.4 billion. www.arvesta.eu
About Van der Hoeven Horticultural projects
Founded in 1953, Van der Hoeven is a leading greenhouse solution provider as a designer, engineer and project manager of turn-key top-tech horticultural projects globally. Van der Hoeven employs 125 FTE, records an annual turnover of more than 120 million euros and has an excellent track record of projects totalling an installed base of >1,000 ha over the last 15 years. Van der Hoeven provides customised solutions to growers and investors with a strong focus on automation, renewable energy, climate control, cooling, water efficiency and new crop cultivation. www.vanderhoeven.nl
Arvesta - Stéphanie Deleul, External Communications Manager
Van der Hoeven - Marisca Van den Berg, PR & Communication Manager
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.
In September 2019, the Challenge final was reached, where 16 teams dropped out and 5 teams remained. The remaining 4 contenders were left behind during the final ceremony this Monday. Performance was judged on topics such as functionality, AI strategy, innovation, scalability and profitability. Jury chairman Leo Marcelis commented that Team Automatoes has built a robust system with solid engineering, in which the plant takes on a central role. The developed AI strategy is scalable and highly applicable worldwide, the jury stated.
This aligns well with the international approach of Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects. The complexity of designing and building worldwide projects such as Sundrop in Australia and Sara in Japan is high. “Innovative, challenging and global projects are an excellent match for Van der Hoeven. Crop consultancy is an essential component in supporting our customers and we have noticed that it elevates them to a higher level of productivity. The combination of cultivation experts, R&D and artificial intelligence enables us to optimize the return for the investor, which fits in perfectly with Van der Hoeven's strategy, ”says Leonard.
"Higher production, with a lower risk of diseases."
Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects B.V. and CannabiDol are going to cooperate. Bas Duijvestijn and John Dol announced this last week.
As Sales Manager at Van der Hoeven, Bas Duijvestijn has seen the demand for cannabis projects increase for some time. This strong demand is often accompanied by some uncertainty about what such a project should look like. There is much uncertainty about the correct way of growing, and there are few producers who grow cannabis in the same way. “Cannabis is currently one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and we are seeing market prices dropping,” says Bas. “This requires more efficient cultivation solutions, so five years down the line enough money can still be earned. Through the collaboration with John Dol, Van der Hoeven can lay down a complete package for entrepreneurs who want to grow cannabis optimally and sustainably. We can assist customers from the drawing board and the feasibility study up to and including the cultivation advice after the turnkey construction has been completed.”
The first illuminated semi-closed greenhouse in Australia was delivered last summer. It is an 8-hectare ModulAIR project that we built in Two Wells, 50 km north of Adelaide. Perfection Two Wells has been involved in tomato cultivation for many years, and we asked Michael Simonetta, CEO of Perfection Fresh Group, about his experiences during the building process. Michael has been instrumental in taking his family-owned business from a small operation based at Sydney Markets to a sizeable grower, marketer and processor of fresh fruit and vegetables.
1. Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us something about your carreer?
I studied and practised accountancy for six years before joining Perfection Fresh as part of the sales team in 1984; I became CEO in 1991. I am currently serving as a Director on the Board of Produce Marketing Association.
2. How did Perfection Two Wells develop? What is the business vision of your company?
When we first built stage 1, we did so because we felt there was a shortage of high-tech production capacity in Australia. This changed in the ensuing years as we and others expanded. Our business vision is that we will continue to lead the fresh food revolution by making the best varieties available as we explore the world of taste, at the optimum times for the Australian consumer and with the ultimate goal of increasing consumption.
3. Last summer, the 5th phase of Perfection Two Wells was delivered. How did you experience this building period What did you like most?
The building experience was excellent, Van der Hoeven and the Perfection team worked very closely. They ensured all works were co-ordinated together without delays or compromises to the project. The teamwork of Erik from Van der Hoeven and Harald from Patron with our team ensured the project was enjoyable.
The qualifying round of the 2nd edition of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge was held in Bleiswijk on Thursday 12 September. The Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge is a competition is organised by Wageningen University (WUR). Over a period of six months, the teams compete with each other to produce the maximum harvest with the minimum energy consumption.