"Strawberry farmers destroy crops" was a frequently read headline this year concerning the result of many factors that combined to make it economically unviable for farmers to put strawberries up for sale. What does sustainable strawberry cultivation look like?
The area of open land used to grow strawberries in Germany has been declining since 2017. "One of the reasons for this is that the number of farms is declining overall," explains Simon Schumacher, managing director of the Association of Southern German Asparagus and Strawberry Growers (VSSE). "In addition, some farmers are switching to arable farming or other areas where, for example, harvesting is less complicated and time-consuming to organize."
With crises such as Corona or the war in Ukraine, it has become even more difficult than before to find helpers for harvesting and plant care. And in Germany, around 77,000 of these helpers are needed each year to bring the berries from the field or greenhouse to the store. On the other hand, protected cultivation is increasing - for various reasons:
Organifarms spoke to Bart Jongelen. He is part of the research team at the Delphy Innovative Soft Fruit Center (ISFC) in Horst, Netherlands. Here, research is being conducted into what the strawberry cultivation of the future may look like and how it can already be designed to benefit farmers and consumers. He also explains why protected cultivation could be more attractive for farmers.
Read the interview at www.organifarms.de.