Looije, the agricultural company specializing in the production and marketing of cherry tomatoes, has carried out this morning a symbolic act of first harvest in the new greenhouses acquired by the company in the municipality of Águilas (Murcia).
The event also included a visit to the facilities by the media and different authorities, with the presence of the mayor of Águilas, Mari Carmen Moreno;
the general director of Food Industry and Agricultural Cooperativism of the Region of Murcia, José Gómez;
the general secretary of the Socialist Party of the Region of Murcia, Diego Conesa;
the Councilor for Agriculture of the City of Águilas, Bartolomé Hernández;
the president of the Association of Producers-Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables of the Region of Murcia (Proexport), Juan Marín;
the general director of Proexport, Fernando Gómez;
and the manager of the Irrigation Community of Águilas, Pedro Gil;
among other personalities of the political sphere and representatives of Looije Águilas and financial entities linked to the construction of the new estate.
A project of 11,000,000 euros
The project, budgeted for a total investment of more than 11,000,000 euros, consists of three phases to be executed between 2019 and 2023. The first one, already concluded, involves an extension of 5.2 hectares of cultivation.
The second -programmed for 2021- and the third -2023- will complete the arable area until reaching a total of 19'2 ha.
Among the most notable technological advances and systems of the new facilities, the following stand out:
Water optimization, through the sustainable use of rainwater and the reprocessing and reuse of water used in irrigation.
For this purpose, an outdoor crop with lower sloping channels has been chosen (so that the liquid always comes together at the same point), in addition to building a reservoir with a capacity of 21,000 cubic meters.
Automatic system that stabilizes the temperature and adapts the external conditions to the specific needs of the cherry tomato.
Optimized soil humidification system that, by not directly affecting the tomato, minimizes the suffering of the plant in this regard.
In 2020, construction of a niche for auxiliary fauna.
The facilities will add an outdoor garden composed specifically of plants that attract natural predators of enemy tomato pests.
Technological support for the worker, such as the use of tablets for the digital assignment of tasks.
Latest technology plastics for the construction of the base structure, which help to improve the preservation of light and temperature.
Facilities complementary to the crop: reservoir, control center, office, changing rooms, bathrooms and cafeteria with air conditioning, television, refrigerator and coffee machines, food and soft drinks.
All these points have, in short, two common objectives.
The first of these refers to an increase in production (the initial forecast exceeds 1,000,000 kilos of cherry tomatoes per year) and the collection months: ten.
And the second, and most important, is the constant improvement in the tomato ripening process and, by extension, in its taste and quality.
Along these lines, the director general of OP Looije, Juan José López, said to the media: "We have made a greenhouse so that the crop and people are better. It is our responsibility as a company to create the ideal habitat to always offer a Good product, "he said.
"We think that this is the future of agriculture, both in Murcia, and in the rest of Spain: take advantage of every square meter and every drop of water to the fullest and get the best possible quality of tomato in it," he added in reference to the different greenhouse optimization systems.
Similarly, José Gómez, representative of the Ministry of Agriculture of the CARM, defined these advances as "agriculture of the 21st century" and wished that "I wish the Region of Murcia continue along this same path".
In similar terms, Diego Conesa pronounced, who pointed out that "this very clear commitment to sustainability (both labor and environmental), research, water efficiency and the tendency to zero waste, is the way to demonstrate that agriculture can continue This line".
Finally, the mayor of the town of Murcia, Mari Carmen Moreno, said she was "proud of the firm commitment that Looije has made for Aguilas and for cutting-edge, modern agriculture with investments in technology and innovation and development."
Originating in the Netherlands in the 40's, Looije arrived in Spain in 1998, in search of the Sun that the northern sky denied him during the winter months.
The company grew progressively until it was integrated into the Looije Producers Organization in 2010, formed today by a dozen associates, with more than 65 hectares of cultivation between two provinces: Murcia and Almeria.
At present, operating with complete independence from its Dutch sister, Looije has increased its production to exceed 7,000,000 kg per year of cherry tomatoes and registering a turnover close to 13,000,000 euros in 2019.
It should be noted that it is not the first investment in infrastructure that Looije has made in recent times, since, in December 2018, the company inaugurated a new handling warehouse on a plot of 20,000 square meters in the Industrial Estate 'El Labradorcico ', in Aguilas.
With an investment close to 4,800,000 euros, the company intends to increase its production to 12 million kilos per year of cherry tomatoes in the next five years, thus reaching the maximum working capacity of this new warehouse.