This year's Greenport NHN congress theme is 'working together on innovation.' People like Allan Visser will participate in the innovation panel. He is one of the Dutch TV series 'Bollenjongens' (Bulb Boys) main characters. The organizers asked him a few questions ahead of the event.
How do you, as a young bulb grower, see the future?
"I see a future full of challenges but also opportunities. Things aren't going to get any easier. But who doesn't like a bit of a challenge?"
Can you comment on how the 'Bollenjongens' series has affected bulb cultivation's image?
"It allows us to share the story of what goes into getting that bunch of tulips in your vase at home or that bag of bulbs at the supermarket. I hope it's given people a better idea of what we do and that it contributed to a positive image."
In the series, you discuss tricky topics, like using crop protection. What is fellow growers's response?
"All we've done is tell an honest tale, and we've not received any negative feedback from fellow growers. Everyone considers it crucial to share the real story, rather than - as sometimes happens now - the media putting their own spin on it."
What is currently the bulb sector's most important innovative challenge?
"We must commit to sustainability and automation. Many of the resources we use for disease control now are being phased out. That's a done deal. So, we must commit to resilient cultivation with green agents and resistant varieties.
The labor factor is also becoming increasingly difficult: labor costs keep rising faster than what we can charge for our products. That's why we must invest in automating the entire process."
'Bollenjongens' was successful on Youtube and is now airing on RTL Z and streaming via Videoland. Will there eventually be a sequel?
"As far as I'm concerned, yes. There are ideas about what that could be, but no concrete ones yet."
Source: Greenport NHN