On Friday, Teboza and Martens Asperges signed an agreement to purchase the Sparter. This is the Dutch company, Cerescon's, selective asparagus harvesting robot. This marks the start of robotization in labor-intensive asparagus cultivation.
‘’We're enormously pleased with the market's confidence in our machine. It's great that both Teboza and Martens were the first to seize this opportunity. With this innovation, they'll now be at the forefront of the asparagus sector," says Thérèse van Vinken, Cerescon's CMO/CFO.
"These two companies are among the largest asparagus growers in the Netherlands. We're proud that we can make the step from hand harvesting to robotized selective harvesting possible. That's thanks to the arrival of the Sparter.''
The coronavirus pandemic has only intensified the need for automation. Last season, finding enough suitable workers to cut asparagus was an even greater challenge for many asparagus farmers than before.
Ron Martens of Martens Asperges says, “It was a commercial decision. We're preparing for the future. Manual pickers are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Quality can increase too, so it's twice as attractive to us."
Rik Kursten and Will Teeuwen of Teboza add, ‘’We're part of the UserGroup. So, we've been involved in developing the Sparter for years now. We see robotization in asparagus harvesting as an excellent opportunity. We can continue growing asparagus in the Netherlands, responsibly and sustainably."
A total of six Sparters will enter the fields. That'll be in the Dutch and German 20201 asparagus season. After that, Cerescon wants to gradually increase production. By 2026, they want to be able to commercially produce 150 machines a year.
For production, Cerescon has entered into partnerships with large parties from the Brainport manufacturing industry in the Netherlands. Cerescon also works with well-known parties to service the machines.
Denick Murraij was recently appointed as the company's CEO. He's a specialist in the field of production and service setup. Cerescon has, therefore, taken the next step towards professionalization. They have left the startup phase.