The story of Andrea Launeck

We’re working as hard as always to do our bit to support growers and others in the fresh produce chain

Andrea Launeck director Rijk Zwaan Italy

Even in these difficult times, we are continuing to support growers and other partners in the food chain to produce fresh fruit and vegetables. Andrea Launeck, Director of Rijk Zwaan Italy, reflects on the coronavirus situation and the supply of seeds in Italy.

How are you tackling the coronavirus crisis?

“We are experiencing an extremely complex time, full of uncertainties due to the lack of knowledge of this invisible enemy. Despite this, at Rijk Zwaan Italy we are working as hard as possible to optimally support growers and all our other customers and partners in the food chain.”

Rijk Zwaan Italy warehouse

Is the seed supply for growers guaranteed?

“The supply of seeds from our main location in the Netherlands continues as normal. We have everything we need in our warehouse in Bologna to face the next few months. We did have some difficulties in shipping seeds to the most severely affected areas, but we recently solved most of the delivery problems, thanks not least to the very good work of the couriers.”

What safety precautions have you taken for crop specialists and other employees working with your partners?

“Obviously, we followed all the directives of the Italian government. Externally, we have reduced the mobility of our crop specialists; now, they are only visiting customers for strategic purposes, and always in full compliance with the safety regulations and the availability of the companies hosting them. At our offices in Bologna, we have minimised the number of people who physically come in to work. There is of course more contact via phone or other digital solutions instead of field visits. But I can also proudly add that, as always, our crop specialists and sale representatives are providing solid support to our customers in the case of any doubts.”

Sweet Palermo

What future awaits us?

“No one can predict the future at this moment. However, we are continuing our production of vegetable seeds, our shipments within Italy and our investments in research & development – which equate to approximately 30% of our global annual turnover. We have no intention of slowing down and we’re working as hard as always to do our bit to support our growers and the rest of the fresh produce chain.”

Picture: Rijk Zwaan's sweet pointed pepper Sweet Palermo® , one of our innovative products. 

Stronger Together

The spread of coronavirus affects us all. Growers, distributors, supermarkets and many others in the food chain are working hard to guarantee there is enough food available. They are all an essential link in the food supply chain every day. That's why over 3,300 employees worldwide are doing their utmost to ensure a continued supply of seeds.  

Read the Italian version of this interview via Fresh Point Magazine IT