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Honduras: Production and export of pre-finished tropical plants

General information
Project location: Hamlet Las Minas, Honduras
Consortium: Vinkaplant BV, Mabo Plants SA
Project Budget: Euro 1.4 million
External financing: 50% grant funding by PSOM
Project period: July 2007 - June 2009

Although the project had been planned for some time already, the announcement of the Dutch government in December 2006 to increase the current gas prices by almost 60% prompted Vinkaplant’s interest to invest in the production of tropical plants in Honduras. The high energy prices in Europe in combination with the price demands imposed by large retail chains, which are becoming the principal consumer outlet points for tropical plants, are causing a high pressure on the production costs and profitability of the tropical plant production chain. Besides cost reduction throughout the chain, the quality of supplied plants by producers overseas must also be improved to continue complying with market demands and avoid quality claims. Finally, the supply of certain varieties such as Cyca revoluta and Rhapis excelsa is lacking behind present market demands, which are still increasing.

Vinkaplant BV and Mabo Plants SA have been granted a PSOM pilot project which will assist the partners in setting-up a joint venture for investment in production and export of pre-finished tropical plants in Honduras, including the introduction of some new plant species and varieties for cultivation in Honduras, as well as more advanced technologies to produce pre-finished potted plants for export. On arrival in the EU, these pre-finished plants need only to acclimatise a few weeks with local growers, before distributed to retailers, thus considerably reducing the time that semi-finished plants now have to grow in expensive greenhouse conditions in The Netherlands.

Within the project, a joint venture will be established between Vinkaplant and Mabo Plants and a dedicated second-handed glasshouse will be set-up as nursery, including cold stores for seed storage and conditioned rooms for germination. For the production of semi-finished plants, all new varieties for Honduras, 8ha galvanized shadehouse and open field will be established, equipped with fertigation and groundcover. An equipped greenhouse will be set-up for the pre-finishing of the plants, which includes re-potting with special substrate and re-rooting. As the greenhouse and glasshouse are closed units, biological control measures will be introduced. Furthermore, a packhouse with associated facilities such as offices, canteen, sanitary facilities, warehouse and repair workshop will be constructed.

All 54 employed staff will be trained and coached according their position in all relevant aspects of tropical plant cultivation, including MPS training and certification.

The spin-off of this project in the first two years after completion comprises:

  • follow-on investments of the partners through their joint-venture in expansion and diversification of products and varieties, including the purchase of additional land;
  • direct employment for 31 persons additionally at the joint-venture.
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