The demonstration and research greenhouse for sustainable tomato production in subtropical areas was opened in Taiwan on on December 4th 2014. The medium-tech greenhouse is the result of a Dutch-Taiwanese collaboration on sustainable modern greenhouse vegetable production financed by The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture. In this project Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, The Netherlands, and Tainan Dares, Taiwan, cooperated in developing a new modern greenhouse production system. The project is further supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Netherlands Trade and Investment office.
About 100 participants followed opening ceremony and the two days seminar on Greenhouse Technology and Advanced Agriculture Technology in Tainan. The new demonstration and research greenhouse has the goal to develop modern and resource efficient cherry tomato production with high yield and quality (taste).
The tomato is grown on substrate gutters in coconut coir. Drip irrigation and fertilisation is provided by a computer controlled mixing unit. Rain water is collected on the greenhouse roof for high water quality. Cherry tomatoes of different local and Dutch varieties are produced. The greenhouse has a Venlo-type shape with a span width of 4.8 m by 4 m, covered with a highly diffuse, non-thermic plastic film for high light transmission, good light scattering and low night temperatures. The ventilation capacity is extremely high to prevent temperature accumulation during periods with high irradiation and high outside temperatures. Roof top ventilation is made from a two sided continuous window added to a side wall window for high natural cooling. All windows are covered with insect nets for pest control and safe food production. Additional cooling is provided by a high pressure fogging system in order to lower daytime temperatures and to increase naturally low daytime humidity levels. An air distribution system under the crop gutters is used to circulate air and avoid condensation on tomato stems and fruits as much as possible during night periods with high humidity levels. The greenhouse climate is automatically controlled by a climate computer.
A high-wire cherry tomato cropping system is used. Cherry tomato are a high value product on The Taiwanese market, however current yield in traditional production systems are extremely low. At the current stage researchers of Tainan DARES explore the new growing possibilities inside the greenhouse system, experiments with climate setpoints, fertigation strategies and research the interaction with crop varieties and crop management in order to achieve improved tomato yields and high fruit quality.
Public Private Partnership
The new demonstration and research greenhouse is part of the public private partnership (PPP) between Taiwan and The Netherlands established already in 2011 with the aim to stimulate sustainable modern greenhouse vegetable production in Taiwan, facilitating business opportunities between both countries and exchange knowledge. Different Dutch companies contributed with their products to the demonstration and research greenhouse, such as Priva, Enza and Rijk Zwaan. Ludvig Svensson, Jiffy, Agrolux, Hyplast and Vifra delivered products to the greenhouse. The Taiwanese greenhouse constructor Champion realised the project at Tainan Dares in Tainan.