"Bunnik Plants is a truly unique company, progressive and taking care of its employees. Everyone here matters and is given a lot of responsibility," says head of cultivation Nick van den Berg. "Every employee knows exactly what they have to do, but they largely determine how and when. There is also a lot of room for personal and professional development. That creates a lot of challenge, a high level of involvement, and a pleasant working atmosphere."
The company has twelve cultivation specialists, who Nick manages. "We grow greenhouse plants on more than 26 hectares, spread over seven locations. A million new plants are delivered every week. Every plant that leaves our nursery is ready for the windowsill. This is how we relieve our customers. For that added value, we are always looking for the latest trends, and we are often a trendsetter."
Sustainable in practice
The company attaches great importance to sustainability. Nick van den Berg says that, in 2015, the company was the first greenhouse horticultural company with 1.7 hectares of greenhouses on which 5,500 solar panels have been installed, good for more than 1.4 MW. The company hardly uses gas, but the heat from the RoCa network partly consists of heat from the AVR waste incinerators. The CO2 required comes from the refineries on the Maasvlakte. Crop protection is mainly organic. Everything is aimed at growing plants as sustainably as possible. "We believe it is important that our company contributes in every way to a better world. And that people are happy with our products."
Working with GreenSwitch Original
It is not surprising that the idea of GreenSwitch was received enthusiastically at Bunnik Plants. According to Nick, the use of this fertilizer is an important puzzle piece in the overall picture of sustainable cultivation of greenhouse plants. "There is not yet a big demand in the Netherland for sustainably produced fertilizers, but at Van Iperen, we are convinced that will happen soon, and we are now ahead of it – thanks to this new production method from Pure Green Agriculture," says Dick Breugem from Van Iperen. We have already presented it to a number of customers." Besides Hoogeveen Plants, Bunnik is the first company to do business with GreenSwitch.
Nick van den Berg: “Henk van der Meer, Erik Noordam and Dick Breugem from Van Iperen introduced it here. It was new to us. We hadn't thought of this before. We have now been working with GreenSwitch Original for five months, for now, only at one of our seven locations. This is about 10% of the total production. Although we are still in the experimental phase, we can conclude that the quality is good. It does what it's supposed to do. We see no difference with the traditionally produced potassium nitrate."
Nick van den Berg: "We are glad that Van Iperen came to us with this. This is indeed in line with our vision. We have been a customer of theirs for a long time because they make an important contribution to innovation and sustainability within our company." Erik Noordam: "The concentration of GreenSwitch Original is lower than common potassium nitrate, so you need more liters for the same amount of fertilizer. And that stops a number of growers. Most think it's a great idea, but the price keeps them from using it themselves. Sustainable cultivation is a choice that you have to make out of conviction. That is really the case at Bunnik."
A real solution
"Raw materials are, of course, becoming increasingly scarce, and the (energy) costs to produce fertilizers are increasing. Therefore, we expect that in the future, GreenSwitch Orignal will become an important solution in the demand for liquid fertilizers, all the more because it is produced CO2 neutrally. With this concept, we can offer a significant solution for the manure surplus in cattle farming", said Henk van der Meer. Nick van den Berg: "It is important that we also get this story to the consumer. People are really willing to pay more if they know that a plant has been produced sustainably. But you have to tell that story. With many of our plants, you will find some residual material from biological control on the leaves. That looks a little less nice, but you can just blow it off. If you tell the underlying story, nobody will give you a hard time about it".
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