‘Working together on biodiversity’
Breeders are constantly working to develop new and improved vegetable varieties, whether with resistances against pests and diseases, a higher yield, a longer shelf life or a more appealing colour, shape or size. In order to breed these traits into the varieties, they use genetic material from gene banks. Biodiversity – and in particular genetic material – forms the basis for plant breeding. Access to those genetic resources for breeding purposes is governed in Access & Benefit sharing conventions. Karin Laugs explains more.
The story of Bertha Bagenyi and mrs. Rukia Ibrahim from Tanzania
This is a story about two Tanzanian women that share our Rijk Zwaan mission: to deliver appealing, high-quality vegetables to the market. One of them, Bertha Bagenyi, is Selector African Hot Pepper (habaneros) at Rijk Zwaan Afrisem. The other, mrs. Rukia Ibrahim, is a smallholder farmer from Uchira Village. This is a story about passion, pioneering and perseverance.
A healthy partnership in Australia
Rijk Zwaan Australia is a proud supporter of Health Futures Australia (HFA), a local not-for-profit organisation and health promotion charity. Rijk Zwaan shares HFA’s belief that fresh, nutritious food is critical in building a happy and healthy human and local economy.
Clean drinking water for families affected by hurricanes in Guatemala
In late 2020, Guatemala was hit by two hurricanes and the associated heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding. Many water supply pipelines and reservoirs suffered severe damage and some areas of the country have become almost inaccessible. Health authorities are particularly concerned about the welfare of young children, because the shortage of clean drinking water is increasing the risk of infection and diarrhoea.
Public-private partnership SEVIA: Tanzania welcomes better seeds and agricultural training
SEVIA was a public-private partnership (PPP) aimed at contributing to food security in Tanzania by professionalising vegetable production. As a vegetable breeding company, Rijk Zwaan was involved right from the start. Over the course of seven years, SEVIA and its partners hosted more than 1,150 demonstrations, trained 1,435 sector professionals and reached over 48,000 farmers.
“Biggest challenge for horticulture in the Middle-East? To increase yields using less water”
The world population is increasing rapidly, which is also notable in the Middle East and North Africa, regions visited by Gert-Jan Krook, Area Manager at Rijk Zwaan, on a regular basis. As a result, the demand for fresh vegetables in densely populated cities like Cairo, Bagdad, Riyad and Dubai goes up as well. In the meantime, fresh water is increasingly scarce. How to grow more vegetables while using less water?
“Contributing to the world food supply through research into plant health”
Joke Klap works on the development of resilient and robust vegetable varieties. That’s how she’s contributing to plant health and food production. She explains how Rijk Zwaan is contributing to plant health by developing vegetable varieties with resistances.
Knowledge transfer at the heart of development projects Rijk Zwaan
For more than twenty years, the Committee for Development Cooperation of Rijk Zwaan has been supporting projects in developing countries. Financially, but also – and especially – by transferring knowledge on vegetable cultivation to growers. The Committee, or COS, lately published its COS magazine, in which several projects are highlighted.
Rijk Zwaan hands out 3,000 seed kits to primary schools and after-school clubs
As part of Rijk Zwaan’s vision of ‘Sharing a Healthy Future’, we’re keen to teach and inspire schoolchildren about vegetables. We do this in several ways, including going into primary schools and after-school clubs to hold talks about vegetables, and handing out seed kits. Jolanda van Kralingen, Specialist Communication, explains more about this aspect of the company’s contribution to society.
“Having a long-lasting job in an innovative company means that you keep developing yourself”
One is never too old to learn, an old saying goes. Joska Dekker, Advisor Learning & Development at Rijk Zwaan, couldn’t agree more. She is involved in the RZ Academy, an internal academy offering courses, training and daily inspiration. Her colleague William Brombai Peres, Managing Director at Rijk Zwaan Brasil, gives a unique twist to that by organising a monthly TED-breakfast.