In Vietnam, the switch to growing hydroponic lettuce is a big topic at the moment. “We see an increase in hydroponic lettuce cultivation already. This is due to high interest from the consumer for safely grown product. We expect the growth of lettuce on water to continue over the next couple of years, like it has already happened in Thailand and Malaysia”, says Jean-Marie. The current acreage of hydroponic lettuce cultivation may be only around 30 to 40 hectares, but he expects this to multiply over the next years.
For the growers though even with hydroponic cultivation, finding the connection to the market and the consumer still is difficult. Therefore the greenhouse growers try to differentiate their products from the open field vegetables. “For example, when they grow lettuce hydroponically, they intend to keep the roots when they sell it, to show they grow it in the water, an innovative way with less spraying. Some growers also try to cut the steps to the wholesale market to connect more directly from grower to end users. And with Rijk Zwaan, we also inform the supermarkets and consumers by giving demonstrations on NFT cultivation. That way we show them what hydroponics is and what the benefits are for the end product.”
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