Pepper is one of the most widely grown crops in Indonesia: there are numerous small nurseries in Sumatra, West Java and Sulawesi. The cultivation takes place outdoors. Due to the rainy climate it often happens that fungal diseases destroy almost the entire crops. The Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research wants to help Indonesian growers with the switch to protected cultivation.
Humidity causes fungi
Indonesia has a humid climate, which automatically means that the peppers are regularly attacked by fungi. As a result, there are periods when up to 90 percent of the pepper crop is lost. As addition, due to the fungal attack, the peppers can no longer be sold. This means enormous economic damage to both the country and the affected growers. In fact, this condition can even significantly increase the inflation rate yearly. The only solution to date is the use of chemical control, but because peppers are a food product, this is not a good option.
That is why WUR has been asked to help Indonesian growers. This will be done in a number of ways in the coming years. For example, there will be a demonstration center for covered crops; as well as a series of workshops. In this way, local growers can see and learn how to grow their crops in, for example, a tunnel greenhouse. WUR already has the knowledge for this in house; For example, research has been done for years into the cultivation of tropical crops, such as pepper. Limited automation will be used in the tunnel greenhouses.
There are numerous benefits. The growers learn to fight diseases in pepper, but that knowledge can also be used in other crops such as floriculture, another economic pillar in Indonesia. In addition, that knowledge may also be used in other parts of the world. In China and Latin America, for example, the cultivation of peppers also takes place outdoors, and in those areas fungi are also a problem.
Several Dutch and Indonesian companies have now shown an interest in participating in the project. Other companies interested in participating in the project can report to Yaite Cuesta.