Aleia is one of a few ultra-modern rose nurseries in the world. A number of these are located in the Netherlands, where the infrastructure, logistics, buyers, technical suppliers and research institutions are all just around the corner. In Africa there's less of that, but there they have a different way of modern rose cultivation. In Africa the quantities can be produced because there is more sunlight than in the Netherlands, and because of the high altitude at which the nurseries are located there is also a good 24-hour temperature. Growers have increasingly succeeded in adjusting local conditions to their requirements and in making optimum use of them for the production of roses.
Dirk Hogervorst, CEO Aleia Roses, at the IPM Essen
Aleia, however, is neither in the Netherlands nor in Africa, but somewhere in between. It is located in Spain, and because that is different than usual, it raises a number of questions. We asked the CEO of Aleia Roses, Dirk Hogervorst, how that came about.
"Spain is an optimum of the Netherlands and Africa", he summarizes briefly. "Here in Spain we have facilities like the ones in the Netherlands, but also much more sunlight and a good 24-hour temperature. Spain therefore has the advantages of both the Netherlands and Africa. Our company, in terms of design and facilities, is a Dutch company (glass, lighting, heating, CO2, screens etc.), but with a much higher light level than in the Netherlands. Also, and that is very important, we transport our flowers on water to Royal FloraHolland and not dry in boxes like those from Africa. You could say, in a manner of speaking, that we cultivate in a Dutch greenhouse at a 20-hour drive from the auction. Transport is cooled and the roses do not stay in cold storage in Spain. Moreover, in the Netherlands you cannot be at an altitude of 1,100 meters and nowhere can you have so many hours of sunshine. In Spain, there is an average of 25% more light than in the west of the Netherlands."
In addition, as the grower likes to mention, the stems are cultivated in a biological way and a socially responsible manner. "Our efforts in that respect can be proven. During the IPM we received the MPS SQ certificate. We already have the MPS A and MPS GAP and we are happy to add MPS SQ."
Carmen Juan-Aracil, Will Zuiderwijk and Mar Parra
Aleia is a 'Dutch nursery' in Spain. Luis Corella, owner and founder of the company, is Spanish, but that has nothing to do with the location of the rose nursery. "We have searched for the best cultivation location for roses and that was in Spain. Luis previously started a tomato nursery in Mexico, and in this project for roses he sees Spain as ideal. That could also have been another country, and I know that other companies are orienting themselves on other Mediterranean countries. It requires a slightly different mindset, but I think that that will come. Luis Corella pioneers in that respect and that is also one of the reasons that is so appealing to me in this project."
The Spanish Red Naomi! grower started in 2016, from scratch, with 14 hectares of greenhouse in Garray (about 2.5 hours drive northwest of Madrid). A year later it was already the largest rose exporter in Spain. Daily more than 100,000 stems leave the nursery for the auction at FloraHolland. At last month's IPM Essen, the grower presented the new Aleia Máxima label, the heaviest grading from which they expect to supply 1,500 to 2,000 stems every day. Aleia Máxima is the third label of Aleia Roses; previously Aleia and Reia were introduced. The cultivation and everything that comes with it is arranged in Spain, the commercial side is taken care of in Aalsmeer.
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