People in Flanders, Belgium, see chances to expand local ginger cultivation. Researchers wanted a project to address the biggest challenges in support of ginger farming in that region. So, on November 1, 2023, the horticultural (LA) project "Expansion of ginger cultivation in Flanders" was launched.
The PGA, East Flanders' provincial vegetable cultivation research center, is coordinating this. It is working with the VCBT, the Flemish Center for the Conservation of Horticultural Products. The goal is to build a complete, local value chain around Flemish ginger. By closely involving all chain players from the start - from plant material to end product - the project partners want to create a revenue model for all parties involved.
Adapting plant material and cultivation methods
To grow ginger successfully and sustainably, it is vital to begin with suitable, affordable, disease-free plant material. That availability is currently very limited. That, thus, forms an essential focus for further cultivation.
To improve the crop's profitability, the varieties and cultivation methods allowing ginger to be grown in Flanders with minimal input, like energy and labor, are being investigated. The researchers are constructing a network and actively involving pioneers and early adopters.
Young ginger, a new product
Local cultivation will mean a new, juicier, more aromatic product - young or new ginger - can be marketed, the researchers reckon. That is because locally grown ginger does not need thick skins to withstand distant overseas transport. Currently, young ginger is only available for a very limited time.
To be able to offer that for longer, the researchers are seeing how this ginger can be stored optimally and if you can grow it year-round. They are also mapping the product characteristics and seeing what consumers think of this new product and what the added value is for them.
A cost calculation and feasibility study is, of course, needed, too. The researchers want to correctly inform Flemish growers about the possibilities of this crop.