Better risk management, more biodiversity and reduction of pests and diseases – these are just some of the benefits of strip cropping. A number of organic farmers are putting this new cultivation method into practice in the Netherlands. One of them is agricultural company Erf BV, on one hundred hectares. The method is being trialled in other European countries too. “It results in more stable yields with the same amount of labour. But it also requires extra knowledge and a different approach,” says Dirk van Apeldoorn, lecturer and researcher at Wageningen University & Research (WUR).
In May 2022, a new campaign is being launched to encourage consumers in the Netherlands, Flanders, Finland and Sweden to buy more organic products. It is based on collaboration between supermarkets and other value chain partners including Rijk Zwaan. “We want to awaken the conscience of concerned citizens inside supermarkets, and we will use nudging to help us,” says Michaël Wilde, Director of Bionext, the Dutch branch organisation for the organic food and farming sector.
Vegetable growers in Senegal, West Africa, are becoming increasingly sustainable. Some growers have even switched entirely to organic production. “We are doing this for our children’s health. Vegetables grown without pesticides can be eaten straight after harvesting,” according to four female members of the Groupement d’Intérêt Économique (Economic Interest Group/GIE) Book Xalat in Keur Matar. In Manko Pout, Tsai Dieye grows vegetables on 100 hectares. She is also aiming to go 100% organic because she wants to regenerate her land, plus she believes it is ultimately better for plant health.
Organic consumers are big fans of carrots thanks to their versatility and they also love beetroot due to the appealing flavour and colour. Organic growers of these crops should choose strong varieties that have dark, upright leaves. Here, the specialists from Rijk Zwaan talk about which varieties they recommend for various markets and climates.
Organic melon growers can choose from a wide range of watermelons and melons at Rijk Zwaan. Resistances against powdery mildew and aphids in most of the varieties are very valuable. The small sizes for export and the innovative concepts like Ready to Eat are also attractive to growers. Specialists from Rijk Zwaan explain which varieties they recommend for organic production.
Sebastiaan, David and Rob are three organic farmers in the Netherlands. Love My Salad has recorded a short video with each of them in which the farmers provide a peek behind the scenes. This is one way that the global consumer platform powered by Rijk Zwaan is showing thousands of its social media followers what organic and biodynamic farming is all about.