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Tree fruit nurseries: often forgotten player

While the grower receives much of the credit for the fruit in the supermarket produce department, and deservedly so, many accomplishments in the nursery are also vital in the overall satisfaction the consumer receives when biting into a tasty, juicy fruit variety.



It also helps to have a rich history as a foundation which is certainly the case for the Rene Nicolai Nursery in Alken, Belgium. Started by Rene Nicolai in the early 1920’s with producing fruit trees, it has since been a nursery continuously working in the front of the Belgium and later European fruit industry.

Very appreciative of the history of the Rene Nicolai Nursery is Florent Geerdens who has 30 years of being associated with it and its owner since a management buyout in 2000. He’s also a great example of what it takes to maintain a successful operation in the tree fruit nursery business today with the keys being a great deal of hard work and ‘being connected.’ The hard work part, covering a very large territory in Northern Europe, has him shepparding an operation of a group of companies involved in apples, pears and cherries.



Geerdens and these companies do this through a matrix consisting of rootstocks, maiden fruit tree production in the nursery, and orchard fruit production along with the management of varieties and intellectual property issues.

As rootstock producers, Geerdens says they are a ‘middle sized’ business in volume but very well known because of the Nic® series they developed. They are amongst the bigger tree fruit nurseries volume wise in Europe, with an impressive number of trees totaling over two million. As orchardists they run an average Northwest European fruit farm with a focus on new varieties and also a very strong concentration on cherry production.

Finally, as variety managers they have brought several new successful varieties to the sales desks Europe wide and to the consumers on the same continent. It’s in the area of variety managers that Geerdens and his associates really shine in the world of intellectual property as this activity lies in the ability to leverage that knowledge with new varieties. This is also one of the areas where its several partnerships play an important role.



One of those partners is the Associated International Group of Nurseries (AIGN®) which through its members worldwide helps add to his own level of inventiveness. This also helps the Rene Nicolai Nursery in terms of commercialization to be able to test and screen, to grow and license and protect some of the most modern varieties along with some of the most desirable selections from all parts of the earth.

Being a well known and successful manager of varieties including a high level of strength in commercialization along with such a close tie to AIGN helps provide Geerdens significant status in Northern Europe’s fruit industry. Add to that his connection to rootstocks, fruit tree production and being an orchardist and it’s no surprise that Florent Geerdens and the Rene Nicolai Nursery are well known names extending into the entire world of tree fruits.

For more information:
Associated International Group of Nurseries
Email: info@aign.org


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