Five months after kick-off, the first roses have just been planted in a new greenhouse that is currently being built by Israeli greenhouse supplier Azrom in the province of Shandong in China. The first 2.5 ha of the 16 ha greenhouse are planted and the rest of the greenhouse is planned to be finished by Mid-January. In the end, the entire project will cover around 30-40 ha. The pandemic has put an extra challenge on executing the project, but Zviki Porat, Azrom's Global Marketing Manager, is pleased with how it all turned out.
Tailored made greenhouse
In May, the deal was closed and on June Azrom started the construction of the 16ha greenhouse in the city Rizho and just like every greenhouse they supply, this one is different and tailored to the climatologist conditions and the specific client’s goals. "The greenhouse is equipped with all kinds of systems that is required to grow high quality roses in the Shandong climate. The weather in China is very varied; in most areas the summers are very hot and the winters very cold. This requires practical thinking of solutions for both seasons, needs maximum energy efficiency and low costs." Azrom is already quite experienced in making tailored made greenhouses and does it for more than 60 years now.
"In recent years, there has been a tendency in the Chinese market to think that advanced agriculture is necessarily a glass greenhouse. You can see a lot of glass greenhouses built in the last decade in China when many of them are empty or have become restaurants. This is because glass greenhouses are not suitable for the climate in most of China, especially in places where the summer is very hot, which makes it very difficult to ventilate the greenhouse due to its engineering design that was originally designed for the northern European climate," he explains.
"After investigating all conditions and discussing all needs from our client, our engineers decided what greenhouse they would design. It turned out to become a Gothic structure with all systems, like double roof vents, double screen (shading and thermal), hot water heating system, substrate gutters, and so on. It has is becoming a high-tech greenhouse." At the moment, the first 2.5 ha of the 16ha greenhouse is finished and planted and the other hectares are currently under construction. "The structures are already built, and teams are working hard on finishing installation of the inside systems."
Demand for high quality roses
In China, the demand for all kind of local production, including roses, is increasing, explains Porat. "The country wants to become more self-sufficient. On top of that, the middle class is getting bigger and bigger and they have more money to spend, so are also more willing to pay for good quality roses."
But why in the Shangdong province? In a previous article, Porat explained the reason of their client to choose this location: "In China, the demand for high-quality flowers is increasing. Traditionally, and due to climatic reasons, 70-80% of China rose cultivation is in the Southwest part of the country (Yunnan province); however, the best markets are located about 3,000 km from there, in the rich Eastern coast (Shanghai) and in the North of China (Beijing). The distance between the production bases and the market lead to high prices for the consumers, that is due to transportation cost and depreciation. For this reason, a big group that got recently involved in agriculture decided to build a high standard greenhouse closer to the main markets, in Rizho. This city is situated right between Beijing and Shanghai, 700 km from Beijing and 600 km from Shanghai. In this way, they can meet the demand for higher quality roses, for reasonable prices as transportation is shorter."
The pandemic resulted in challenging times for many countries across the globe. Also, for Azrom, it has been a challenging period, but this one in China is one they are proudly looking back to. "The main challenge was to get our supervisors over from Israel to China. We managed to do it and after a couple of weeks of quarantine, they were able to be present on site. Fortunately, Azrom has a factory in China since more than 10 years ago, and since 2014, we have officially opened our office in China, recruited and trained local engineers and built a strong marketing and operation team. Our office is located in Kunming, Yunnan province. We already had projects in China before, but in 2014, we decided to put a "man on the ground" and it proved itself as the right decision. We were happy that we could continue during the pandemic with our local team." They only had the challenge of getting some products. "Some components we need to import, but due to local sourcing we enabled to find high quality alternatives. We learned how to deal with the challenge of getting them to the site, but by improving the logistics, we were able to implement them successfully in the project ."
Azrom supplies tailored made greenhouses all over the world. Even though the pandemic is creating a situation in which the company need to be more creative, Azrom is determined to continue transferring their knowledge worldwide. "Covid-19 creates challenges, but we will find solutions. It is in our DNA. Also, when looking at our greenhouses. We do not just supply a greenhouse, but we sell a complete solution. As fast as possible, the greenhouses need to become profitable and we will do all we can to help the growers to succeed. So, we do not stop when we completed a greenhouse project."