Professor warns of industrial risks

Swedish horticulture professor gives predictions for European industry in the 21st Century

Horticulture is being industrialised and it will be business management, not growing, that drives the industry in the 21st century, according to a professor of horticulture at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Professor Rolf Larsen gave his message to delegates at last week’s Bewley Lecture at Warwick HRI while explaining his predictions for horticulture in the 21st century. He believes that Holland has the lead in European horticulture and will continue to hold this status for the next five to 10 years. However, he thinks Dutch horticulture cannot afford to expand in the Netherlands because of scarce land availability and high prices, but will continue to be the world’s leading horticultural marketplace. He said the expertise of the Dutch will be used to develop the industry in northern Europe and he cited the Westland area around Gravenzande, Holland, as the centre for technical developments in European horticulture. He added: “We’re likely to see an increased export of knowledge, expertise and technology with continued production outsourcing to southern Europe, Africa and Asia. He expects computerised production control and robotics to continue in Holland and other areas that can afford to run technologically controlled glasshouses. “I envisage an increased focus on biotechnology and breeding aiming for disease resistance, new developments in product quality and a better understanding of plant mechanisms,” he added. The technological developments expected from Holland are expected to drive horticultural production growth in southern Spain, Germany, Poland and the UK.

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