Producing record breaking yields in the middle of a brutal Vietnamese heatwave

March 19, 2024
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Two years ago to this day a lead from came in via the Dutch Business Association Vietnam DBAV 🇳🇱 director Guido van Rooy about an interesting company in Vietnam that was working on sustainable production of safe and healthy food in Vietnam: Orlar.

By Partnership developer Willem Moraal on LinkedIn

Six years and 40,000 disease free grow cycles later in the vertical form, they started testing innovative rootzone temperature-controlled technology enabling growing vegetables in the Mekong Delta, where the average daily temperature is 32 degrees, without the energy cost of a climatized greenhouse. 

The idea was that instead of keeping the whole greenhouse at 28C , the roots of the vegetables would be kept at an appropriate temperature at a fraction (1-5%) of the energy costs and usage of the usual alternative – hydroponics. After Bas van Dijk from RoyalHaskoning informed us that the numbers added up and indeed it could be done, I had to see it for myself. The rest is (beautiful) history.

Vietnam horticulture Willem Moraal NLWorks

Last month The Orlar greenhouse, using Rijk Zwaan seeds, was producing record breaking yields of temperate varieties normally only grown in highlands- in the middle of a brutal Vietnamese heatwave with temperatures up to 42 degrees.

Together with my colleague Tracy Wilson, NLWorks built the consortium of Dutch agricultural tech suppliers and connected with Invest International to finance a feasibility project. The findings during last week’s visit have shown the importance of this collaboration and efforts and resources well spent. Together we have proven that it can be done in one of the most difficult, hot and humid places in South East Asia, meaning the possibilities for scaling and replicating are enormous.   

Bringing in more and more tech from the Netherlands such as the Hoogendoorn Growth Management greenhouse control system, and KUBO Greenhouse Projects alongside teaming up with local partners such as Sanha, the next step will be optimizing and scaling the current initiative and then replicating this all over the Mekong Delta and other countries with similar climates.

Want to learn more about our Vietnam Sustainable Horticulture program? Take a look here.