Empower high-end vegetable supply chain by young plant production
The project will be executed as a joint venture between 4 partners. Applicant Grow Group International B.V. wants to start a joint venture with local partner Global Santé, which is a trade company that (through its owner) is participating in Primagri, a seed company in a joint venture with Cotugrain Hortimag. Cotugrain Hortimag will become partner in this joint venture project as well. Cotugrain Hortimag is a company in horticultural supply of raw materials in Tunisia and owns a subsidiary young plant nursery in joint venture with Pépinière Grow Tunisia. Pépinière Grow Tunisia will also become partner in this Algerian joint venture. In this way Algerian trade experience will be combined with Dutch horticultural experience and nursery experience in Tunisia that is a neighbouring country of Algeria.
The partners are going to establish the first professional young plant nursery in Algeria to supply the demand of local vegetable growers with top quality disease-free young plants material.As is usual in professional Dutch nurseries, but new to Algeria, the growers themselves will provide the seeds. The nursery will grow them to young plants. This allows growers a preference for seed companies.
The project partners will continue to provide agricultural assistance (growing media/substrate, soil tests, fertilizer advice etc), after delivery of the young plants. Apart from the growing from seed, the nursery will grow and sell its own (grafted and non-grafted) plants.Until now, vegetable growers face a shortage of reliable young plant material. They tried to import from the Grow nursery in Tunisia, but face export/import problems. This is one of the main reasons to start a nursery in Algeria. The traditional working method in Algeria is poorly developed and leads to severe production losses and poor plant quality. Therefore, it was never profitable for growers to invest in hybrid, high yielding seeds.
The combination of a professional nursery and professional agricultural advice on new young plant cultivation techniques (substrate), the use of grafted plants and hybrid seeds, will result in a substantial increase of production yields and empowers a reliable and sustainable vegetable supply chain in Algeria. This pilot project contributes to the improvement of the market position of local growers. With higher yields they will be able to respond to the existing local demand for vegetables on the local fresh market and for industrial use.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
The joint venture aims for ISO and GlobalGAP standards. They will not acquire a certification, because it is not essential for their commercial activities, as their produce is for the local market only.
- Employment and working conditions
Partners follow the Algerian law, which they claim is already very pro-labourer. They claim the Algerian attitude is against heavy manual labour, so they minimise this kind of labour by more investments in machines and equipment than was the case in previous projects. The Salaire Minimum Agricole (SMAG) leads to an income, sufficient to meet basic needs and gives a reasonable income. The additional fringe benefits include health insurance, medical care, meals, sanitary and work clothes. All employees will be trained in safety measures.
- Innovation / Transfer of knowledge
The project introduces the production of young disease-free vegetable plants, which could not be imported due to legislation. The actual production method of farmers is technologically less developed and results in low quality. Weather influences are also much higher at this moment. A central nursery could prevent these problems and deliver better quality plants at the time the farmers need them. Also the idea of the accompanying agricultural advices is new for Algeria and will result in better growing techniques and more adjusted fertilizer and pesticide use and thus higher yields and incomes.The Embassy mentions the existence of 5 other nurseries in Algeria. Applicant reacted that those are of a different commercial scale and do not operate in the way this project proposes, e.g. with combined agricultural advice, hybrid seeds and grafted plants. The Embassy denies the fact that they have stopped operating. They admit that the way of operating is new and promising.
According to the applicant, the existing nurseries eventually might benefit from the project by duplicating the way of operating as is the experience in other countries. The joint venture will support this.
- Chain effects
Impact on local suppliers
As the cultivation of vegetables will become more professional and profitable, applicant assumes more growers will start to build greenhouses. Local producers will feel the urge to learn how to build them. So they will no longer have to be imported. The large steel industry in Algeria may eventually profit as well.
Impact on local customers or consumers
Local customers are the vegetable growers. They will benefit, because it will now be profitable to buy high yielding seeds. Explanation: In the Netherlands it is common in this sector that a nursery grows the seeds that are bought by the customer. This is to prevent an image of liaison with certain seed companies. The choice for seeds is completely to the grower himself.
- Impact on the sector
The experience of the applicant is that this method will soon be copied by other growers. The cultivation method (trays instead of open soil) will be copied also. This will lead to higher yields in the whole vegetable sector. The partners want to combine their activities with a local producer of fertilizer and create a knowledge centre for local growers in order to provide growers with advice and technical assistance with a focus on a more economic use of fertilizers related to plant material, growing methods, soil characteristics etc.
Partners claim that by better advice on the use of fertilizer and pesticide the use will be better dosed so the quantities will reduce. They will perform an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The growers will be trained in the application of these chemicals.
- Position of women
The aim of the joint venture is to recruit as many female staff as possible. This is visible in the impact overview figures as enclosed in the project plan.
- Impact on food safety
This project is aimed at providing more vegetables to the local Algerian market. So it has a high impact on food security.
- Impact on water
The project focuses on water management. The joint venture will secure water supply by capturing rainwater from the roof surface and by using this efficiently. Waste water will be reduced by natural purification of drainage water. This method can and is expected to be also copied by other growers.
Private Sector Investment programme (PSI)
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Grow Group International B.V., Global Santé, Cotugrain Hortimag, Pepiniere Grow Tunesia