Bilancia has horticulture projects in Kazakhstan and delivers in those projects the knowledge and skills to get a good production. To create this situation Bilancia horticulture projects BV selects Dutch growers and together with this grower, Bilancia adopts the project.
“We are going for the long term, not for the short one” says Jan Vrins, one of the directors of Bilancia. Often it’s a traject with trials and errors, however when people learn we are glad. In this article we show you some of our experiences in Kazakhstan.
First of all, it must be clear that every project needs a long term thinking. We often meet advisors who promise very high (sometimes unrealistic) figures of production, just to get a project for a few months. For the investor it is interesting to get an high production, but it is also disappointing when these amount will not be realised.
In Kazakhstan we know that the intensity of light in Aqtobe is very high. So, this will not give any problems. However we also know that the wellwater is terrible and asks often for osmose, before using. Besides that, the amount of water in the region is not very high and on the long term (coming 10 years) we expect problems in the watersupply.
Bilancia has adopted a project of a foreign greenhouse builder who didn’t finish his work conform the appointments. This greenhouse builder thinks on the short term because he don’t get the possibility to sell new projects in Kazakhstan. The same situation will come for those advisors who promise high figures in production and they cannot realise this.
The main crops in Kazakhstan are at this moment: cucumbers (midi) and tomatoes. We don’t see peppers and cut flowers. The surface of Kazakhstan is 5 times France and the climate is quit different in the regions. So has the region of Chimkent very hot summers (50 degrees C) and cold winters (minus 30 degrees C). In Tekili (at the east site againt the Chinese border, you will have in the summer period temperatures of 30 degrees and in wintertime minus 15 and in Aqtobe (North west) winters (minus 20 C) and summers (+ 35 degrees).
The development of the horticulture in Kazakhstan goes very fast. Investors and the government take care for the money, however even the government is looking for cheap greenhouses, cheap materials etc. Often this cheap buying is on the long term expensive buying, because when you look to the results or the lifetime of some products, you can better buy immediately a good product, that has proved it selves.
Some of the people will never learn from their decisions and we have seen several greenhouses that collapsed by the heavy weight of the plants. Nobody wants this, however, when you have warned the owner and he doesn’t listen, it can happen.
In every project we see the same: management that doesn’t come in the paths between the plants, but stay on the middle path. It is always a struggle to get them to work with and between the people, so they can control and improve the skills of them.
A good management is very important, so you will get a good communication structure and everybody knows in time what has to be done.
Sometimes the results are disappointing, however with patience and talking we increase the level of knowledge and skills. In The Netherlands we take years of education and courses. We cannot expect within 2 or 3 years people in Kazakhstan will reach that level. It goes with steps and when we all communicate on an honest and open way, we will reach the point at the end, that the people in Kazakhstan can reach a reasonable production themselves.