John van Ruijven was one of the first growers in the Netherlands to obtain MPS certification. At Qualily, growing lilies as sustainably as possible is still a top priority: by saving energy, but also by using biological crop protection. “Certifications are a licence to produce: I hope that more suppliers will become certified.”
The idea to set up Qualily originated in about 2000, when John van Ruijven went on a business trip to South America with a number of other lily growers. Three growers (Van Ruijven plus Ruud van de Hoeven and Raymond Vijverberg) put their heads together and decided to start selling their products under one name. Around ten years later, this collaboration led to a merger of the three nurseries, and Qualily was born.
LED, CHPs and minimal crop protection
Sustainability is a high priority throughout the sector. “Everyone is trying to use as little energy as possible,” Van Ruijven says. “We do that by only heating with CHPs. We do have boilers as a backup, but we never actually use them. We also have solar panels all over the barn roofs and we are currently in the process of installing LED lighting.”
In addition, biological crop protection is used wherever possible at Qualily. That can sometimes be quite a puzzle, Van Ruijven admits. “Thrips, in particular, are constantly adapting. And because there are fewer and fewer products approved for use these days, green crop protection can often be quite difficult to implement.”
MPS member from the word go
Fortunately, Van Ruijven and his colleagues don’t have to face that puzzle alone. “We have an excellent working relationship with MPS. If there is a problem, we always get plenty of help from the helpdesk.”
Certifications are very important for Qualily, according to Van Ruijven. “Certifications like MPS are essentially a licence to produce – we couldn’t manage without them.” As one of the first 50 participants, Van Ruijven has been an MPS member since the word go and would like to see many other growers join.
“I really hope that more suppliers will become certified. If bulb suppliers are certified too, that is good for transparency throughout the entire supply chain.”