Chile is a unique country: 4 000 km long, 17.6 million people of which more than five live in the capital Santiago. In the neighbouring province of Valparaiso (33 ° S) is located the main greenhouse horticulture region of Chile. The local government contracted the foundation Wageningen UR Chile to make a plan for an Innovation, Demonstration and Training Center.
For this, Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture has examined the bottlenecks of current greenhouse horticulture and has made a proposal regarding possible improvements. The largest gain would follow from much higher (and more transparent) greenhouses, suitable for year-round cultivation (for instance, now they have two tomato crops per year). In addition, heating (and an energy screen) would be almost indispensable, because of the low night temperatures in winter.
Presently, fresh vegetables are transported in the winter from Arica (18 ° S, 2000 Km to the North), where the enormous growth of protected horticulture is threatened by water scarcity and/or quality. At the other extreme (Punta Arenas, 53 ° S), there is a need for local production, as fresh vegetables are very expensive (and not fresh anymore) after a 2200 km ride through pretty rough roads and four border controls (the road is partially through Argentina).
Wageningen UR Chile is leading now talks to chart chances for improving greenhouse horticulture in the whole country.
Financing: the local government of province Valparaiso, through the foundation Wageningen UR Chile