GREENHOUSE HORTICULTURE IN THE 21ST CENTURY; CAN WE STAY COMPETITIVE?
Greenhouse horticulture is an intensive production system with a relatively low resource input per unit of output compared to open field agriculture. It is an essential means of production for large urban conglomerates that are abounding in the present century, while water and chemical resources are dwindling. It is however essential to link these production systems to a consortium of traders, logistic providers and retailers in order to obtain a competitive edge by delivering according to the con-sumers expectations. It will be shown that competition on price, with a concomitant decrease in quality, results in a diminishing market and a viscous circle of declining price and quality. While a strong emphasis on quality will enhance the market and prices will rise as long as a clear and discernable quality of the final product, as it reaches the consumer, is maintained. By doing longitudinal studies of quality development in batches of products it becomes possible to combine deterministic with stochastic models capable of predicting quality evolution throughout the entire production and supply chain. Several examples will be given of this technique and it will be shown that vertical transparency in the supply chain can augment the profit for all participants, while keeping the entire chain competitive in a fast evolving market. By combining predictive quality information with the proper logistic technol-ogy, what we call Quality Controlled Logistics, it becomes possible to optimize the quality of the separate batches by positioning them in the shelves for the consumers at the moment of optimal maturity. What is necessary are new non-destructive measuring techniques that can determine batch quality characteristics at the period of harvest, or even before that, combined with physiology based models to predict quality evolution from harvest time on. Several models have been developed up till now and examples of their application will be given.
van Kooten, O. (2012). GREENHOUSE HORTICULTURE IN THE 21ST CENTURY; CAN WE STAY COMPETITIVE?. Acta Hortic. 927, 837-845
market, quality, consumer, innovation, biological variation, production-consumption-synchronization