At Gerbera van Megen, a floricultural company based in Straelen in the Lower Rhine region, sustainability is a top priority. Run by Thomas van Megen and his father Hans- Peter, the family business cultivates more than 110 different gerbera varieties across 1.5 hectares of greenhouses.
The new greenhouses, built a few years ago, are energy efficient, and the ornamentals producers also use a combined heat and power plant. As a result, they have been able to almost halve their overall heating requirements. "At the start of last year, we began deploying an innovative plant protection robot," says Thomas van Megen. The majority of the plant protection is performed by beneficial organisms, which the robot applies to the plants in a particularly gentle manner and with pinpoint accuracy. If liquid plant protection products are required, the robot also applies them very efficiently, about 30–50% more economically than conventional methods. What's more, the producers use predominantly biological plant protection products.
Since May 2021, the family business has been packaging its ornamentals exclusively in paper with the help of an innovative packaging machine. "We are the only gerbera producer in Europe that has dared to take this step," emphasizes the junior manager.
The paper packaging is made from 80% recycled material and bears the FSC seal. "Our customers have reported a renewed increase in the sale of our products thanks to the paper packaging. Consumers are happy to see less plastic waste," says Thomas van Megen. The family business has also been GlobalGAP certified for several years. "The certificate definitely helps promote sales, as many retailers now only buy goods that meet GlobalGAP standards. Our customers can be sure that the certified gerberas have been produced in an especially environmentally friendly way," says van Megen.
Photo credits: Gerbera van Megen GbR