Back in 1993, blockbuster Jurassic Park hit the screens and Whitney Houston topped the charts with ‘I will always love you’. Yes, it’s really been 25 years since then. Also in 1993, Richel built their first greenhouse in Turkey. This year one of their Turkish projects almost completely resembles this first greenhouse – except that everything is doubled: both the size and the height of the project. “After all, you grow in 3 dimensions as well”, Brice Richel explains.
Travelling to Turkey for the Growtech Eurasia 2018 was a familiar journey for French greenhouse builder Richel. Twenty-five years ago, they built their first high tech greenhouse in Turkey. Meeting up with Ergün Erunal (company Ayer), their first client in the country, was a meeting with an old friend. “Mr Ergün was a fore-runner in the industry. Back in 1993, he was one of the first to acknowledge the possibilities of high-tech horticulture. We built him one of the first high-tech greenhouses in Turkey. The greenhouse was 3 hectares. The gutter height was 3 meters and the total height was 4.5 meters, a revolution at the time.” Up till today the greenhouse is still perfectly working producing young plants.
Ever since, Richel has been a partner to Turkish growers. The company helps them achieve the intended final results. “The general line in all our projects, all over the world, is that a greenhouse is a tool that’s used by the grower. The circumstances might differ, but our goal is the same: helping the grower grow the wanted product, taking into account variables like climate conditions, market situation, locations etc. In the end, this results in the best profit.”
Nima Djelveh, Brice Richel & Olivier D’Eaubonne with Richel. They are visited by Mr Ergün Erunal with Ayer (right). Back in 1993 he was the first Richel customer in Turkey.
Total project focus
This stable vision has assured the company’s position in Turkey. “It has never been an easy market, with lots of local competitors who offer very competitive pricing in order to increase their market share”, Brice remembers. “We could choose to lower our quality standard in order to follow the trend, but we decided not to. Our focus remains on the total project, on helping the grower with quality and technology. Now we see some companies had to leave the market. Although they might have thought that we, as a foreign company, are expensive, this is not the case. We offer the technology and the total project to help a grower achieve the wanted results. So to say: maybe we are not the cheapest in price per square meters, but since our greenhouse can be until is 30% higher, if we consider in price per cubic meter, in volume we are the most competitive solution. And after all, you grow plants in three dimensions, not in two.”
This 3D-vision is shown by Richel’s current activity in Turkey. Only recently a project was completed that resembles their first Turkey project – except everything is doubled. The size grew from 3 hectares to 6.5, the gutter height from 3 to 6 meters, and the total ridge height was 4.5 meters in 1993 and approaches the 10 meter mark now. “It’s 9.8 meters”, Brice confirms. Again, that’s a first for Turkey: it’s the highest greenhouse in the country currently.
The team of Richel, Tekno Sera and Haluk Atamal visit Elkan Ordü in the new greenhouse
The new project nearby Afyon with Chief Agronomist Elkan Ordü
Tekno Sera project near Afyon
The first crop in the new greenhouse Tekno Sera, near Afyon was planted September 15th 2018. “Quite a challenge, since we had to deal with hail while the film was being installed. There was new film needed within 15 days to recover the damages done. Fortunately and also thanks to our local partner Tekno Sera, the project was finished in time.”
The project is located at 1000 m above sea level. The area has relatively cool winters with minus ten degrees Celsius, so a good greenhouse is needed for energy savings. “For heating they work with a hot water supply, but CO2 is being bought. That’s quite an expense, so like every grower they search for the balance between production and costs. It’s a ballet. Their Chief Agronomist is an experienced grower. Elkan Ordü is confident, after only a few months he already can see the benefits of such a high greenhouse, not only during the hot period but also during cooler times for his dehumidification strategy. This is made possible of course thanks to the Hortimax climate computer from Ridder, installed by Haluk Atamal.”
Working together with the local partner Tekno Sera.