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Last week the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture took place in The Netherlands. Wim Roosen of coir substrate supplier Dutch Plantin took on the opportunity to use the GFIA Europe as a platform to address what it takes to develop an innovation in the substrate industry.

Roosen started his presentation by explaining about the history of Dutch Plantin and how the company has become one of the fastest growing suppliers of coir substrate solution to The Netherlands. On an annual basis, Dutch Plantin ships about 2,000 containers with coir pith material, of which 40% is shipped to Holland to process it for potting soil companies. The other remaining 60% of the material is exported to 50 other countries worldwide. As a result of the increasing demand since the introduction of their innovative Double Layer grow bag, the company is expanding with a new factory and expects an annual growth of 15 to 20% over the next few years.

The introduction of the Double Layered grow bag is cited by many of their customers. Roosen explained that it took a lot of research, development and patience before they could finally called it an innovation. “In the growing media industry, you can only call your improved or new product an innovation after it has proven itself thoroughly. I am not just talking about one or two years, but minimal three seasons and in various climates and regions. When your products succeeds to deliver expected results over this time and in all these settings, then you can call it an innovation.”

The Double Layered grow bag was developed as a result of the current problems and challenges that come along with the use of the sustainable coir growing media in commercial horticulture. In his presentation, Roosen explained the works of the bags, click here to read more about them in a previously released article, but he also highlighted the importance of quality, certifications and important research partnerships.

The Double Layered grow bag has increased the use of coir substrates among Dutch and Belgian growers. Roosen explained that this has paved the way for more innovation. “We are currently looking at reusing the bags for more than 1 season and we are also participating in a special research project with Wageningen UR’s Greenhouse Horticulture department to see how our bags can be used for an emission free cultivation. This projects researches a closed recirculation cycle in order to decrease the water footprint and environmental emission of hydroponic greenhouse cultivation. We are looking at tailoring our bags to this new way of growing, making the industry even more sustainable.”

Publication date: 5/11/2017
Author: Boy de Nijs