King Willem-Alexander opened the new information and experience centre on the occasion of Koppert Biological Systems’ jubilee anniversary on Thursday 14 September. The Dutch family company this year celebrates 50 years as a leading force in biological crop protection and sustainable cultivation.
Following the opening ceremony, directors Paul Koppert and Henri Oosthoek led the King through the Experience Centre and the displays of insects, mites, and microbiological solutions that the company produces and deploys in agriculture and horticulture. ‘We have been working hand-in-hand with nature for 50 years to made agriculture and horticulture healthier and more sustainable. Our people continuously contribute towards making cultivation practices more sustainable. The presence of the King today is a recognition of their efforts and crowns our work of the last 50 years,’ Paul Koppert explained.
King Willem-Alexander went on to attend the start of the international ‘Partners with Nature Seminar’ which Koppert organized as part of the jubilee celebrations on this day. The seminar was attended by more than 700 international guests. ‘We are only just beginning; we want to offer sustainable cultivation methods to a range of growers from high tech crops to arable crops. That is the aim of this seminar. We wish to bring our worldwide network together and work towards 100% sustainable agriculture and horticulture throughout the world in a united effort,’ said Henri Oosthoek.
The family company started fifty years ago with the idea of combatting so-called ‘pest insects’ which damage crops, and do so by using natural enemies instead of chemical agents. Koppert looks for solutions that can be found in nature and manufactures products for professional growers.
The 200 m2 information centre that was opened by the King informs visitors about biological crop protection. Here growers, research institutes, students, and authorities from the Netherlands and abroad can find out more about the vision of the family company, research and development of biological crop protection, and production processes at Koppert, in an interactive way. It gives visitors the opportunity to experience how products are developed and how they work. People also have the opportunity of viewing the natural enemies, bumblebees and microbiological solutions close up.
The Experience Centre was built to inform the many visitors that the company receives annually in an even better way. In 2017, Koppert welcomed about a thousand visitors from 35 different countries. The company expects the number of visitors to increase rapidly now that the information centre has been opened. Reservations for tours of the centre can be made via the Koppert website as of the first of October.
From pioneer to market leader in 50 years
In the sixties, cucumber grower, Jan Koppert, just like other growers experienced a great deal of setbacks with pests in his crop. Together with his son, Peter, he set out to find a natural solution to protect his crop and experimented with the deployment of predatory mites against a spider mite infestation. It proved to be a successful solution and formed the foundation for Koppert Biological Systems.
In the 50 years that followed, the family company led by Peter, his brother Paul, and cousin Henri Oosthoek, grew to become the global market leader in biological crop protection for protected crops.
The company continues to grow each year. Besides providing more than 40 different natural enemies to combat harmful insects, Koppert also supplies microbiological solutions and bumblebees for the sustainable production of agricultural and horticultural crops.