Last month the groundwork for “Netherlands Small Fruit Solutions” has started. This is a three-year project in Serbia aiming to find ways to increase the harvest and the price growers get for their berries.
Why we started this project
Serbia has thousands of motivated berry growers. However, they are used to growing with older, more vulnerable plant varieties in combination with unprotected cultivation. This results in relatively lower yields and more loss of yield. By involving Serbian growers and knowledge centers in investigating new cultivation methods and newer plant varieties we aim to boost the local production chain.
Together with eleven Dutch companies and the agricultural department of the Dutch embassy Kekkilä-BVB plays a part in this project. We support the project with our knowledge and research, combined with high-quality growing media from our originally Dutch brand BVB Substrates.
Now the construction of a one hectare demo center for this project has started. This demo center includes various types of covers enabling sheltered cultivation. The following coverings are included in the project:
- Rain hoods
- Hail nets
- Plank arch systems
In approximately one month the first plant material will be planted. The project will trial twelve different combinations of coverings, berry types and levels of technical advancement. The following fruits are included in the trial:
- Red currants
- Sweet cherry
The plants will be grown in advanced growing media instead of open soil, to gain more control over the crops and make fertigation more efficient. This also means the set-ups that are involved in the project are not tied to one specific location. Serbian growers can gain knowledge and copy the growing methods in their own locations.
With this project the project group and the Serbian government hope to support and boost Serbian growers, increasing profitability of the entire fruit production chain.