Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Successful conference on Cucumbers of the Future

Maarssen (Netherlands).
Dutch cucumber growers could learn from developments in countries such as the USA and Canada. To do so, growers will have to take the necessary steps in areas such as marketing and cultivation. This view emerged during the Cucumbers of the Future conference in Maarssen, The Netherlands. The conference, which was organized by Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds, was attended by more than fifty cucumber growers.
How can Dutch cucumber growers strengthen their position in the international market? This was the main question discussed during the conference on Cucumbers of the Future. Several speakers spoke about various aspects concerning the position of cucumber cultivation. It was a good setup, according to Jac Dings from Elsendorp, a cucumber grower and one of the conference participants. "It was a very successful meeting."

Product innovation and the ability to stand out
One of the conference speakers was Arne van Aalst, Director of the Dutch growers' association Prominent. He explained how tomato growers have succeeded in improving their leading position in the tomato market. Some of the ways in which this is achieved by Prominent members is through product innovation and effective mutual agreements.

The presentation given by Henk van Dongen, Specialist in Retail Chains at Fresh Retail, focused on the question of how growers could improve their relationship with retail chains. According to Henk van Dongen, it is largely a question of positioning and the ability to stand out, and growers need to ask themselves the question: "What am I really good at?"

Cultivation is an elite-level sport
Rens Knieriem of Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds talked about international developments in cultivation and sales as well as opportunities for Dutch growers in markets such as the USA and Canada. He compared the cultivation of cucumbers to elite-level sports: "You have to give it your all each and every day to stay ahead locally and internationally."
He believes growers need to work on their relationships with the retail sector, marketing, product diversification, and quality improvement. It is on these points that a number of Spanish companies have caught up with the Netherlands in recent years. "They have made considerable progress over the last few years, in areas such as economies of scale and market-focused production."
Growers in the workshop "Who will become the Apple among the cucumbers?" led by Roel van Summeren, project manager Strategy & Innovation at Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds.
High-wire cucumber cultivation, the cultivation system for growers of the future, will, according to Rens Knieriem, help resolve these bottlenecks. The main question is: How can value be created in the chain based on these economies of scale, improved reliability, and enhanced quality?

Good or bad brands
The conference was concluded with a workshop entitled "Who will become the Apple among the cucumbers?" given by Roel van Summeren, Strategy & Innovation Project Manager at Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds. Groups of growers considered questions such as "Who will be your customers in ten years' time and what will be their needs?" and "How can growers benefit from possibilities in marketing, data, IT, and robotization?"

Jac Dings says he listened carefully the whole day, paying particular attention to discussions on marketing. "In my opinion, cucumber growers still mainly focus on growing and do not pay enough attention to marketing. However, you cannot achieve anything on your own. It would therefore be a good idea if a group of likeminded growers were to jointly tackle the marketing of cucumbers."

Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2014, the Group employed around 119,000 people and had sales of EUR 42.2 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.5 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 3.6 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which is to be floated on the stock market as Covestro by mid-2016 at the latest.

For more information, please contact:

United Kingdom
Cees Ammerlaan, Sales Specialist Cucumbers
Mobile: 06 150 049 79, E-mail: cees.ammerlaan@bayer.com
Brenda van Diejen, Sales Specialist Cucumbers
E-mail: brenda.vandiejen@bayer.com

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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