News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Mike Knowles

BY MIKE KNOWLES

@mikefruitnet

Wednesday 11th February 2009, 09:58 Central Time

Univeg in landmark deal with Lazo TPC

Strategic agreement will see Belgium-based company develop thermal pest control systems in the Benelux, South Africa, Turkey and Latin America

Univeg in landmark deal with Lazo TPC

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Fresh produce company Univeg has signed a major strategic partnership with California-based Lazo TPC Global which gives Univeg exclusive rights to develop the company's patented thermal pest control technology in several countries including Benelux, South Africa, Turkey and a number of Latin American countries.

The thermal pest control (TPC) technology, which involves the application of a high-velocity stream of 100°C air to crops and their surrounding micro-environments, is said to not only reduce pesticide usage, but also to help plants and trees develop bigger, greener leaves and lead to an overall increase in plant health.

Hein Deprez, chief executive of the Univeg group of companies welcomed the deal, announced today. "We see the Lazo thermal technology as having tremendous potential to help our production companies meet the stringent requirements of reduced pesticide residues in Europe," he said.

Univeg has been testing TPC in several Southern Hemisphere countries over the last six months, visiting growers in Chile that have been using the new system.

"We are convinced enough from what we have seen that we are now ready to significantly expand our use of TPC," confirmed Mr Deprez. "Not only have we seen the ability of TPC to reduce or potentially eliminate pesticides but there also appears to be quality and storage benefits that we intend to document more precisely."

Marty Fischer, president and chief executive of Lazo TPC Global, met recently with Hein Deprez and Frederik van der Monde, Lazo’s managing director for Europe, to sign a formal contract and thereby establish the strategic partnership.

"Having a company with a size and capability of Univeg helping us to perfect TPC is a tremendous advantage in gaining acceptance of this new technology," said Mr Fischer. "We know that Univeg is relentless in its efforts to provide EU retailers with excellent quality and understands the necessity for green technology. These priorities are why Univeg continues to enjoy success in this highly competitive business and why we view them as a perfect partner."

Speaking in the latest issue of Eurofruit Magazine, Mr Fischer explained that the concept has already been successfully trialled on grape production and found to work for apples, stonefruit, kiwifruit and berries, and that it could also offer potential benefits for other crops such as field-grown tomatoes, vegetables and salads.

"The effectiveness of the technology comes from briefly changing the micro-environment of the field, orchard or vineyard on a regular basis throughout the growing season," explained Mr Fischer.

The Lazo TPC concept was originally developed by Florencio Lazo Barra, a leading Chilean producer and founder of the country's national producer association Fedefruta.

The Univeg group has 9,500 employees in 23 countries worldwide. Lazo TPC Global has operations in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Chile, Brazil and Europe.

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