The Chicory Biennale offers future prospects for the sector

Tholen – Last weekend was the chicory weekend par excellence for Flanders, but actually for a large part of Europe. On Sunday, the Flemish painted chicory season opened in Hoegaarden, with good prospects, and the 2 days before Flanders was the center of the European chicory sector during the Chicory Biennale 2022. “We can talk about a success with a good future perspective as a conclusion,” says Luc Vanoirbeek. , secretary at VBT.

Wim Rodenburg (vegetable orchard), Philipe Appeltans (BelOrta) and Maarten De Moor (LAVA)

For the 25th edition of the chicory biennale this year, they traveled to Kampenhout, where the chicory museum De Krop was the epicenter of chicory for a weekend full of lectures and company visits. “In the organization, we assumed about a hundred participants, but in the end we registered 167 participants,” continues Luc. “These participants came largely from the Netherlands, Belgium and France, but there were also delegations from Germany, Great Britain, Austria and Spain. The great interest suggests that chicory is certainly not in a downward spiral. On the contrary, if this weekend has sure one thing is that beautiful things are possible in terms of quality, sales and innovation.”

Luc Vanoirbeek (VBT)

Opportunities in challenges
It proves that there is still a lot of knowledge and opportunities to be gained from a biennale. “A biennale is sometimes seen as old-fashioned, because nowadays all information can be found on the smartphone. However, the opposite turned out to be the case. All participants indicated that they were excited about the many conversations and discussions during the breaks and dinners. There were plenty to discuss in research and commerce. There was a very impressive contribution on the possibilities of robotics and artificial intelligence in chicory cultivation, and attention was also paid to Care4Growing, a new app for growers.”

This edition, for example, focused on the opportunities despite the major challenges facing the sector. In addition to cultivation, trade was also considered. “Where it used to be a lament, the general tone has been positive this edition. Various challenges were reviewed. For example, increased prices of energy in particular were examined and how to deal with this in the future. Koos Groot, from Tolpoort Vegetables also discussed consumption. This was, he said, an important point if one wanted the price to improve. That is the sore point for chicory: consumption. Marnick De Visschere of REO responded to this by saying that a way had to be found to pass on the increased cost price to the next links in the chain. This should be discussed in consultation with retail and stakeholders.”

The gallery in the chicory museum De Krop

Opportunities for young people
“Wilco van den Berg, from GroentenFruit Huis, also said, for example, that young people really eat more chicory than is generally thought. It is not a vegetable to be skipped, it just needs to be made aware of. are such opportunities . for such a diverse product,” explains Luc. “Crop protection was finally also discussed, taking into account the Green Deal and the Farm-to-Fork strategy. However, the urge for more plant-based food is central here. Our sector has already responded clearly.”

The BelOrta Greenhouse

All in all, Luc talks about a very nice biennale. “The insights provided ensure that all participating countries can anticipate the future. The future of chicory is certainly not a future of negativity. It is a future of opportunity, and that is a good goal for the next Biennale, which will be held in It will be Germany. I’m looking forward to that,” concludes Luc.

For more information:
Luc Vanoirbeek
Chicory Biennale 2022

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