With Asia Fruit Logistica taking place next month in Hong Kong, Fruitnet speaks to Jan Doldersum about Rijk Zwaan’s priorities when it comes to the Asian market

What advancements are you seeing in the Asian market right now?

Rijk Zwaan hydroponic lettuce

Jan Doldersum: What we are seeing now is what we call a leap towards more professional cultivation, from low-tech to mid-tech and from mid-tech to high-tech.

We are seeing bigger investments in the Asian horticulture business from private equity and professional parties, something that some Western companies had been a bit reluctant to do previously.

Where is Rijk Zwaan’s focus when it comes to Asia?

JD: The day before Asia Fruit Logistica we are hosting an event for around 60 to 80 customers, investors and technology companies to discuss the market for hydroponically grown leafy greens in Asia.

The event will consist of a seminar with experts from Rijk Zwaan and external speakers as well. A few of our customers will talk and we have technology companies providing the latest developments in hydroponic lettuce.

So hydroponic leafy greens is one exciting area for us, and the second is the melon category, where there is big potential. I was recently in India and in China, and in both countries we see the opportunities for, let’s say, more Asian types of melons.

We have invested in the development of varieties more suitable for local conditions, and we now have a nice portfolio to help us compete in Asia.

Are there any specific products that are really exciting you?

JD: We have three new melon varieties specifically for the Asian markets, and one of them, Fujisawa, is particularly exciting. It is a quincy-type melon with attractive netting and orange flesh and is quite unique in this market.

It has extremely high sugars of 14 to 16 degrees of Brix, so it is very sweet. Thanks to the Brix, flavour and texture, we can surprise our customers and create a ‘wow’ taste experience.

We also have the Sagami melon, which is a Japanese type with green flesh inside and is also netted – that is an attractive proposition.  

See Eurofruit September for the full interview