“Innovation is our new standard”

31 May 2021 | Int. Greenhouse Guide |

John Meijer, Commercial Director Bom Group:

In fact, no horticultural project is the same anymore, says John Meijer, Commercial Director of Bom Group, one of the largest suppliers of horticultural projects in the world. From his office along the Nieuwe Waterweg in Hoek van Holland, with a view of passing ships sailing all oceans, he gives his vision on current developments in the international horticultural sector.

“Of course we understand that it seems as if a horticultural project with a Venlo greenhouse is built from standard products and elements, but the implementation of a horticultural project is increasingly custom-made, tailored to the different crops, climates and individual wishes. By constantly thinking along with our clients and participating in research, we have gained a lot of knowledge over the years about other applications, which we have developed further and which currently form the basis for many more new developments. “A process that never stops,” says Meijer.

Greenhouses in the future
Bom Group is currently involved in the development of various huge innovative greenhouse projects, sometimes with parties together, sometimes on their own initiative, to deepen their level of knowledge. For example, Bom Group started last year with KAS2030, an initiative of the Ministry of LNV and carried out by Wageningen University & Research, BU Greenhouse Horticulture, in which sustainable cultivation is central. Growers and researchers can learn how to grow fossil-free and emission-free in the KAS2030 greenhouse.

Bom Group is also one of the initiators of the All-Climate Greenhouse in the World Horti Center, together with other Dutch knowledge-, advice- and technology companies. In the All-Climate Greenhouse, both the indoor and the outdoor climate can be regulated, so that cultivation conditions from anywhere in the world can be simulated. The greenhouse is used for international training and the knowledge gained from it is used by Bom Group in the further development of its greenhouses and greenhouse installations.

Finally, a huge 29 ha greenhouse complex is currently under construction in Norfolk, UK. One of the main reasons for this project was sustainability. The project’s client, Low Carbon Farming Ltd., is a project development company that focuses on reducing its carbon footprint. “They had developed an interesting technology to heat the greenhouses with the residual heat from a nearby waste water project,” says Meijer. This was the basis of the whole project. They approached us and we helped them realize their vision by connecting them to growers and helping them convince investors. Low Carbon Farming is a turnkey project in the broadest sense of the word!

Sustainable with water
Every greenhouse installation, which is an integrated part of a greenhouse complex, has an impact on the productivity and sustainability of every project,” said John Meijer. In the very past, Bom Group was mainly specialized in innovative greenhouse structures, but already in the 90s we developed into one of the leading developers of complete horticultural projects in the world. Together with our partners, we are closely involved in the refinement of all greenhouse installations and the integration of the whole into one efficient and sustainable complex. ”

Meijer talks about the research greenhouse built by Bom Group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “The first experiments in the new research facility for protected horticulture in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, developed with the support of experts from Wageningen University & Research, already showed that water savings of more than 90% can be achieved with local tomato cultivation. The results also show that it is feasible to grow tomatoes in Saudi Arabia with a limited amount of water, “An unprecedented success,” said John Meijer.

This unprecedented success has been followed up by two, challenging but, state of the art projects in the Middle East. Together with our strategic partners, we are currently realizing two, very high-tech, projects with a total of 10 hectares in United Arab Emirates and Saudi-Arabia. Tomatoes will be grown in one greenhouse, while fully automatic lettuce will be grown in the other greenhouse. ‘’These projects makes our organization proud’’, says John Meijer.

The future
Bom Group is one of the proud founding partners of the Dutch Greenhouse Delta. Together with the Dutch Greenhouse Delta we are always looking for new opportunities in challenging countries. According to Meijer, Bom Group and other Dutch horticultural suppliers are in a positive flow. The new technological developments follow one another at a rapid pace, a pace that foreign companies cannot keep up with. “And we have to keep it up,” says a combative Meijer.

Recently Bom Group formed a strategic alliance with industry colleagues HAVECON, VB Climate and PB Tec. This alliance enables the group of companies to strengthen their knowledge, purchase power and R and D developments. Meijer: “Projects get bigger, more complex and have to be realized in a quicker pace. By strengthening each other in large(r) complex projects, on certain disciplines, you become partners instead of competitors and still guarantee the Dutch quality

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