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'Crops for robots' instead of 'robots for crops'

Vegetables to be adapted to suit picking robots

In the future, vegetable varieties will be created with the specific intent that picking robots can harvest them more easily. Colinda de Beer predicts it will be a case of 'Crops for robots' instead of 'Robots for crops.'

“The greenhouse horticulture sector is also talking about robots taking over the work in greenhouses. However, this isn’t happening fast enough for a lot of growers. There is a shortage of personnel to pick tomatoes and twisting or clipping cucumbers involves a lot of work.”

“Still, I don’t think that replacing this kind of work is going to become the revenue model for the robots that we are currently developing for greenhouse horticulture. First of all, I don’t feel that the need is great enough. In the thirty years that I have been active in horticulture, I can’t remember a single moment when the fact that there was nobody to do the work was never an issue.”

“Despite this, the staff always turned up in the end. First from Poland, and now increasingly from Eastern Europe. In the quest for cheaper labor, the work from cuttings and plant tissue culture invariably went to a new low-wage country. Moreover, there are hardly any growers who are investing in harvesting robots at the moment. If the need really was that great, I would expect that there would be more interest in actively investing in this. There may be something else going on there.”

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