MPS grower Rob van Haaster has partnered with several growers and other players* operating in the bulb-growing industry to develop a new, sustainable cultivation system for growing disease-free hyacinth bulbs. The partners’ main purpose is to reduce crop cycles, as the current long cycles increase the risk of disease and pests. As Van Haaster, owner of Van Haaster Vijfhuizen, which operates 35 hectares of land used for hyacinth cultivation, explains: ‘This project gives hyacinth growers the opportunity to introduce more sustainable practices. Even if you’re not making the world a “greener” place for yourself, then at least you’re doing it for future generations.’
The growing market demand for healthy, residue-free bulbs and flowers has coincided with stricter regulations for the use of crop protection agents (which has reduced the number of authorised products). Since the current 3- to 4-year crop cycles increase the risk of disease and pests, growers use a large number of chemical agents. Making hyacinth cultivation more sustainable will require a radical change in cultivation practices.
The Vitale Teelt Hyacint (‘Vital Hyacinth Cultivation’) project is a POP3 project that receives 70 per cent of its funding from the South Holland Provincial Authority, using European Union subsidies. The remaining support is provided by plantation insurance company Stichting Hagelunie and the partners involved.
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