Innovate, Cultivate, Sustain: Automation for B(l)ooming Horticulture

In the heart of Dutch innovation lies Hoogendoorn Growth Management, a horticulture solutions innovator that's been steering the course of horticulture automation for nearly five decades.

27th of November 2023 Member Spotlight

Hoogendoorn has not only revolutionised the way we cultivate flowers and vegetables but does not cease to contribute to sustainable farming and global food security. With their innovative horticulture automation solutions, the company enables growers worldwide to produce higher yields using fewer natural resources.

Inception of an Innovator

In 1974, Hoogendoorn gave life to the world’s first digital horticultural computer. A brainchild of Henk Hoogendoorn, the company embarked on a journey with a mission –  to contribute to the greenhouses of the future. Their vision encompassed creating intelligent algorithm software that could empower growers to exercise absolute control over their cultivation environments. Angela Luijten, Business Development Manager at Hoogendoorn, explains: “We’re always on the lookout for innovations of the future. Currently, we’re focused on the further development of intelligent algorithm software.”

NABC and Africa: A Platform for Growth

In 2011, Hoogendoorn recognised the significance of establishing a strong presence within the African market. Martin Helmich, Chef Commercial Officer at Hoogendoorn, remembers the numerous Africa-focused events that NABC facilitated at the time, including gatherings with ambassadors from various African countries, providing a valuable platform for networking and engagement. Until today, Martin expresses his appreciation for NABC, stating: “The network, the level of knowledge within NABC, and the sense of connection to the African continent are particularly valuable to us.”

Hoogendoorn has been extending its roots across the African continent since. Their presence spans North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, and South Africa, covering regions from Morocco and Egypt to Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and beyond. Martin explains: “Our dedication to the African market has been unwavering for two decades. Our impact goes beyond technological innovation; we engage in partnerships that drive sustainable change.”

Horticulture Automation Solutions for Safe and Sustainably Grown Produce

One such partnership is with Florensis, a Kenyan flower grower based in Naivasha, 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. Florensis uses Hoogendoorn’s process computer for efficient greenhouse irrigation. In addition, they contribute towards SDG 2 Zero Hunger by recycling their wastewater for fish farming providing a continuous food supply to the local community. “Florensis is close to our heart,” shares Angela and adds that Florensis is exemplary for many Hoogendoorn clients whose horticulture activities allow them to save on natural resources with Hoogendoorn’s efficient automation solutions.

In June 2023, Hoogendoorn introduced their Intelligent Algorithm Software, a game-changer that empowers growers to steer climate autonomously. The software integrates weather forecasts, optimising greenhouse processes and elevating productivity. Angela cites the example of Finka, a leader in greenhouse cultivation whose production increased by 25%, accompanied by reduced energy costs.

While flower growers in Africa often rely on Hoogendoorn’s high-tech iSii process computer, Hoogendoorn’s array of solutions extends to the IIVO computer, acclaimed as the smartest greenhouse control system globally. As it caters to mid-tech projects, allowing farmers and growers to achieve higher yields with minimal resource usage, the IIVO system presents a crucial solution for challenges in African agriculture related to resource optimisation, the scarcity of water, and efficient pest control. Martin Helmich explains: “Our growers’ end consumers – major international supermarket chains – require specific certifications in alignment with ‘Farming the Future’. These certifications compel growers to use less water and fertiliser to grow more sustainable vegetables.”

Being a Knowledge Partner for Sustainable Horticulture in Africa

The commitment to SDG 2: Zero Hunger and SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production does not exclusively shine through Hoogendoorn’s automation solutions. The Dutch solutions innovator actively invests in education and training for sustainable horticulture production on the African continent. Their collaboration with the Horticulture Centre of Excellence in Agadir, Morocco, is a testament to their commitment to empowering the next generation of Northern African growers. The Centre of Excellence, located at the Complex Horticole d’Agadir of the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, hosts Morocco’s very first glass greenhouse that allows to “reduce horticultural knowledge gaps and contributes to cultivation efficiency and effectiveness in Morocco,” emphasises Angela.

Being a knowledge partner is integral to Hoogendoorn’s DNA. They share their expertise with universities worldwide, fostering a broader understanding of sustainable horticulture practices. Angela stresses the importance of collaboration: “All partners in the horticultural sector should combine their knowledge and share it with other countries.” A statement that resonates with Martin Helmich. He has been a member of the Green Farming Board, passing on Dutch horticulture expertise to growers in East Africa. The Green Farming program was initiated by Dutch horticultural suppliers active in the Ethiopian and Kenyan markets with the objective of connecting horticulture networks of the Netherlands, Kenya, and Ethiopia by setting up joint activities in the areas of research, development, and production.

The Green Farming consortium was formed by 25 leading companies in horticulture, AVAG, and DLV Plant, and is supported by NABC member Wageningen University and Research Centre which is involved in the program’s knowledge transfer component. Green Farming is further supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation together with the Dutch embassies in Nairobi and Addis Ababa.

A Collaborative Journey Ahead

In a world where sustainability and innovation are paramount, Hoogendoorn’s legacy is a testament to the impact of technological innovation on agriculture. Their story is one of forging partnerships, fostering sustainability, and driving change across continents.

For more information on Hoogendoorn, visit