Interview Peter Lexmond, Meteor Systems:
The Brabant-based company Meteor Systems has been producing and distributing cultivation systems and irrigation systems to global greenhouse horticulture for more than 25 years. From their factories in the Netherlands and North America and with their office in China, they supply systems for the cultivation of vegetables, soft fruit, cut flowers, leafy vegetables, herbs, and recently also for medicinal cannabis. Their latest innovations are the development of multi-layer racks for indoor and vertical farming, sustainable floats for Deep Water Culture (DWC) and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and low-substrate cultivation.
“The moment growers realize that there is too much water when growing in the open ground and that considerable savings can be made on water in other cultivation systems, Meteor Systems comes into play. Our mission is to translate traditional horticultural knowledge into modern technologies,” explains Peter Lexmond, Commercial Director of Meteor Systems. The program of Partners for International Business (PIB), focused on India, will soon start and Meteor Systems is one of the companies that is stepping in.
PIB stands for Partners for International Business and is a programme through which Dutch companies realise their international ambitions in a public-private partnership. Innovation Quarter and Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD) coordinate the PIB India. Desh Ramnath, Business Developer at DGD: ‘The PIB India will bring the benefits of Dutch horticultural technology and knowledge to investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers in India to the attention of investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers in India and will demonstrate and present the success stories of the technology’. The cluster currently consists of 9 parties active in national and international (greenhouse) horticulture, which offer a variety of complementary products and services and together represent the entire Dutch horticultural chain. Peter Lexmond, Commercial Director of Meteor Systems and Marc Staring, Account Manager at Meteor Systems explain why Meteor Systems participates in the PIB India: “Water is a big problem in India and growers in India realize that they can save a lot of water if the cultivation goes out of the ground and they use cultivation systems. They are making strides towards mid-tech and sometimes towards high-tech. We are therefore receiving more and more requests from India, but these are individual projects, and there is still little structure in them. However, India is a large country and it is a fragmented market, consisting of many states with their own culture and characteristics. We see the benefit of tackling marketing in a structured and phased manner and working together with other Dutch companies from the horticultural sector to obtain a solid position as a partner for India. Governments and investors also like to have a single point of contact who represents a group of companies.
Meteor Systems already supplies a number of projects in India. The 60-hectare, modern Simply Fresh facility is an example of this. Simply Fresh is India’s largest state-of-the-art hydropic nursery and focuses entirely on affordable and safe food, free of pesticides, herbicides, and contamination. Meteor Systems produced and installed steel gutters here for the cultivation of vine tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, and turmeric.
Simply fresh movie
Food safety is also one of the spearheads of the Indian government and the PIB India. With india’s huge population growth and big export ambitions, India will have to produce more food, and this will have to be done in a more effective, sustainable, healthier and safer way. This is reinforced by the demands and desires of India’s rapidly growing middle class. They want safe, fresh and locally grown food, without pesticides. The current agricultural system in India is unable to meet this growing and shifting demand.
Dutch technology and knowledge can make an enormous contribution to providing fresh, healthy and sustainably grown food. India has a number of very densely populated cities, where a huge demand for food comes from. This also offers opportunities for vertical farming, which saves a lot of water and allows a uniform product to be delivered, close to the consumer.
“We see that India is really on the eve of a technology battle in agriculture and horticulture. The government has an important role in how quickly the market develops from mid-tech to high-tech. They hold the key,” according to Peter Lexmond. “With the help of this PIB India, we aim to become familiar with India step by step, to build a network and ultimately to realize annual growth.”