Belgium: Ministerial visit for Denis Plants this week

Greenhouse horticulture companies that invest in energy-saving measures in existing greenhouses can count on increased support from the Flemish Agricultural Investment Fund (VLIF). This was announced by the Flemish Minister for Agriculture and Food Hilde Crevits (CD&V) during a visit to Denis Plants in Lochristi last Monday.

Everything is getting more expensive
Today's high energy prices are weighing heavily on the floriculture sector, especially for those companies that have not signed a fixed energy contract. Denis Plants, like 200 colleagues, can enjoy a price that was locked in two years ago. But that contract expires on December 31, after which deliveries will be made at the likely higher gas prices at that time.

"That means that our cultivation will become about three and a half times more expensive. For our company, that's an additional cost of 200,000 euros," business manager René Denis explained to Minister Crevits. According to him, that should be recovered in sales, but that is not obvious. "Also transport and supply materials become more expensive, such as peat and plastic," Vilt notes. Denis assumes that prices will rise for his customers.

Denis Plant
The visit was organized by PCS (Ornamental Plant Research Institute) and focused on innovation and the development of a more climate-resilient horticulture and agriculture. The emphasis was on sustainable water management, and that's exactly what Denis Plant have been focusing on for decades.

Since 2018, the system based on filter and UV technology has been fully closed. This allows collected rainwater to be continuously reused and surface and groundwater are not affected.

During the visit, the minister also learned about growing plants on vertical wall panels. A collaboration between Denis-Plants, PCS and Sioen Industries has resulted in a new type of innovative water-containing textile fabric on which plants can be grown. The 'Green Living Walls' thus created offer the possibility of cooling down urban environments, slowing down rainwater runoff and creating pleasant green environments.

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