Kettingbrief #16 Mario Schäfer

In de categorie ‘Fruitige Kettingbrief’ gaan we samen met gedreven personen uit de zachtfruit sector, dieper in op de sector! Fred Odenkirchen gaf in de vorige kettingbrief antwoord op de vraag: “Hoe de diverse teeltsystemen voor de zachtfruit sector er richting de toekomst uit gaan zien zodat mechanisering en of robotisering mogelijk gemaakt kan worden.

Fred gaf de volgende vraag door aan: Birka Kallenbach van Organifarms. De vraag die hij doorgegeven heeft is:

Hoe ziet de ideale zacht fruitteelt eruit vanuit het perspectief van een robot?

Het antwoord op deze vraag is beantwoord in het Engels door Co-Founder van Organifarms Mario Schäfer.

What does the ideal soft fruit crop look like from a robot’s perspective?

There are quite a lot of different strawberry crops and strategies to use them. Many factors can be important to the grower in a specific time of the year and market situation. When we look at greenhouse production, many growers focus a high yield during the early and late season, when prices are high.
What all those strategies have in common is optimising the overall profitability of the company. With rising labor cost and low availability of well trained people, it gets more and more important to optimize the labor demand of the crop.
This leads to plants with elongated stems and low number of berries per truss that are easy to pick, uniform ripening from all sides, flat production patterns over a long period of the year.
Such varieties and cultivation strategies, that are optimized for human labor are usually in the same way optimal for our robot. As we focus ona seamless integration of the robot into all processes and good cooperation between the machines and all the other workers, BERRY faces the same challenges as humans do.
But not to forget the consumer: Taste is king!

Mario Schäfer

Naam: Mario Schäfer
Leeftijd: 26 jaar
Woonplaats: Germany / Constance
Functie & organisatie: CSO & Co-Founder

What is your connection to the soft fruit industry?

We develop robots for Indoor and vertical farming. Our first product is a strawberry harvesting robot called “BERRY”.

How do you see the soft fruit industry in the future?

As one that is more automated and thus more plannable and easier to manage for the farmers than today.

I ask the following questrion to Pascal van Oers from VEK Adviesgroep:

If you look at the European fruit market, how do you see seasonal request evolving and which trends do you observe regarding cultivation strategies that contribute to meeting the demand?