After working for 4.5 years at Lidl and 11 years at Driscoll's, Stefan Spanjaard has started his next challenge as Managing Director at the European branch of the Peruvian cultivation company Agrovision. The cultivation company has developed an ambitious plan to grow to have their own blueberry cultivation on 5.000 hectares worldwide within five years. With their location in Europe, they will take the export into their own hands.

This is a wish come true for Stefan. “With my previous employment as well, I was always allowed and able to follow my entrepreneurial endeavors. That entrepreneurship is in my blood. Both my parents work independently as well. So, when this opportunity presented itself grabbed it with both hands. This is entrepreneurship in its purest form. You don’t have to deal with all of the obvious aspects that come with established organizations. The way has not yet been paved, and the entire ‘sales organization’ needs to be built from the ground up. Outside of the support from Peru, I started with a colleague from the United Kingdom, but we will be looking for more colleagues to give further shape to Agrovision Europe in the future.”

Besides blueberries, Agrovision also cultivates grapes, green asparagus, and avocados, mainly in Peru. “The company is grower, packer, and shipper, so the product chain is short. They have also been exporting a large number of products from Peru to China. Although the company hasn’t been around for long, they have grand ambitions. The main focus for us will be selling the blueberries from Peru and selling them in Mexico, China, North Africa, and Europe. However, I expect that we will also soon create new business in Europe with other products.”

Largest Sekoya grower in Peru
In the past couple of years, blueberries have greatly increased in popularity in Europe. Stefan expects this growing curve to maintain but also expects a couple of great shifts in the portfolio. “In the past, cultivation mainly focused on volume, which will become less so. At Agrovision, 25% of cultivation at the moment consists of premium varieties. This is how we became the largest Sekoya grower in Peru, and next year our cultivation will be at 50% premium-varieties adding to our exponentially growing overall production.”

"I am convinced that premium will be the new standard and the traditional varieties will be phased out further, which is a phenomenon that will repeat itself over the coming decades. Looking at the penetration rates in Europe, there is still a lot of potential for a rise in the consumption rates of blueberries. I am also convinced this will lead to more pressure on the production chain, causing it to become shorter and more efficient. The start of Agrovision Europe is an example of that.”

For more information:
Stefan Spanjaard
Agrovision Europe
+31 (0)6 558 133 36