A Netherlands Based commercial farmer Mr. Peter Appelman,has charged his fellow farmers in the continent to scout for customers before venturing into production.
Appelman, who is specialized in growing broccoli and red and white cabbage for trade and retail channel says “my fellow farmers complain too much, which is not the best practice for the business, but exerting energy in looking for customers before one starts his or her production should be the way forward”.
Appelman was sharing successes chalked in the vegetables business to a group of IFAJ members who visited his farms as part of their (seed for success) tour in the Netherlands.
The Appelman family grows 170 hectares of broccoli and 60 hectares of red and white cabbage partly on owned land and partly on rented land in the direct surrounding.
According to him, he produced 1,800 ton of broccoli and 5,000 ton for cabbage, which is cleaned and packed on the farm and partly stored in cold houses to be able to deliver year round.
Appelman, does most of his trade directly and therefore has the largest market in Europe.
Speaking to IFAJ members, he said
“Most vegetables farmers resort to the use of organic manure during ploughing and planting process but I use more of compost mulch and less fertilizer on regular basis”.
“You cannot grow a good product on bad soil hence my decision to invest more in the soil”.
“Look for customers first and then proceed to produce for them, because it is tough in the production stage”.
How can you produce without knowing your customers preference, he quizzed.
Appelman advised farmers to create an enabling environment if they want to exist in the production process.
It is estimated that about 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted globally or lost per year through post-harvest losses.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of U.N. report Food loss is estimated to be equivalent to 6-10 percent of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.