Minister of Agriculture Schouten and her American colleague Sonny Perdue jointly opened the demo-greenhouse KAS2030 located at Wageningen University & Research’s (WUR) Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs Business Unit in Bleiswijk on 28 January. KAS2030 is an all-electric climate-neutral demonstration greenhouse, where cutting edge technology and cultivation systems are combined to reduce carbon emissions and the use of artificial fertilisers and pest controls to zero.
Pete Hoekstra and André Haspels, the two ambassadors, were also present at the opening ceremony and were welcomed by WUR President Louise O. Fresco and business unit manager Sjaak Bakker.
Climate-neutral and emission-free production
KAS2030 is an all-electric demo-greenhouse, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, aimed at achieving a climate-neutral, emission-free production of vegetables, fruit and ornamental plants. The greenhouse uses state-of-the-art technology and cultivation methods to reduce carbon emissions and the use of artificial fertilisers and pest controls to zero.
Towards circular agriculture
Disease and plagues are combatted biologically based on the so-called ‘standing army’ approach. Furthermore, water and nutrients are recycled to their fullest potential to achieve zero-emission levels of nutrients and pest control agents. Thus, the greenhouse is a fine example of Minister Schouten’s strategy towards circular farming.
Dutch innovations in the US
Project manager Frank Kempkes commented of the current research underway in KAS2030, which is funded by the Greenhouse as Energy Source (Kas als Energiebron) programme. Secretary Perdue noted that Dutch innovations are increasingly finding their way to the United States. For example, all of the companies involved in creating the greenhouse are also involved in a large number of horticultural projects in the United States. Following the official opening, the delegation visited three other cutting-edge innovations: The combination of fish farming and lettuce cultivation on water, the ‘winter light greenhouse’, and the cultivation of raspberries under LED lights.
This visit also serves to strengthen the bond between the Netherlands and the USA in the field of agriculture. This unique combination of ministers is helpful, as they are both responsible for the agricultural sectors in the two leading agricultural nations, and were both raised by farmers. The two ministers showed a keen interest in the innovations in the field of efficient and sustainable food production in greenhouse horticulture presented by WUR and their partners in the trade and industry sector.
During the visit, the ministers were given a literal taste of sustainability, as both received a carton of fresh strawberries cultivated in KAS2030 upon departing.