The thing about salad vegetables, and other crops, is that they respond very differently in different climatic conditions. In a tropical climate, such as that of Papua New Guinea in the South-Western Pacific with its incredible cultural and biological diversity, it’s just not so easy to grow salad vegetables on the 2.6% of arable land in this island nation. And some people, unfortunately, learn the hard way.
So it was with our customer earlier this year. Having established a new 5-hectare greenhouse farm with a further hectare of trestle-grown crops to grow cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers, our customer was getting yields well below expectation and well below a sustainable financial threshold. After three years of trying to improve both quality and yield, our customer was desperate.
For Netafim, of course, and our experienced agronomists, who are very familiar with growing different crops in tropical climes, this was a challenge we eagerly took on. Upon seeing the state of the greenhouse crops, we immediately pressed the reset button: we installed Crop Management Technology (CMT) for full automation, reset irrigation patterns, revised Nutrigation™ protocols, trained the local staff, established measuring stations to track water drainage and got the system up and running to standards that our customer hadn’t believed possible – all within a few short months.
Efraim Kaufman, Netafim agronomist, who visited Papua New Guinea four times in the last 12 months, said: “The customer asked us to help significantly increase their tomato yield, which was well below target. After our work, our customer was producing a much higher yield of several tons of tomatoes per week, they had reduced their water use to less than half and drastically reduced the cost of fertilizer. It was a revolution for them.”
Such a transformation is not only about agriculture. It’s a benefit to the entire community. Vegetable prices in Papua New Guinea are high as most crops are imported due to the challenges of local growing. By helping our customer grow more with less, we help increase access to affordable food and improve the quality of life. That’s sustainable agriculture and that’s our mission.
Contact us to learn more about our climate-right solutions.