MJ Tech & BOM Group on participating in the World Expo

Making a statement as Dutch Pavilion

In this Inside Out interview we talk to John Meijer, commercial director of BOM Group, and Jurnjan van den Bremer, commercial director of MJ Tech
Both companies offer innovative greenhouse solutions and actively participate in the Dutch Pavilion on the World Expo Dubai 2020, showcasing the versatility and possibilities of Dutch greenhouse technology.

The World Expo in Dubai is now in full swing. Your company worked hard to make the award winning Dutch Pavilion a reality. What do you hope to achieve with your contribution and presence at the World Expo?
John Meijer of the BOM Group on participating in the World Expo in Dubai

John Meijer (Bom Group): ´We hope that people can clearly see that with joint forces and very inventive techniques you can produce fresh food at any spot in the world, regardless of the natural climate. We´re proud to show this all comes from The Netherlands!´

Jurnjan van den Bremer (MJ Tech): ´In itself, the original idea of Middle East and high temperatures, low RH% was a ”no-brainer” for us. Jurnjan van den Bremer fo MJ TECHIt was quickly decided that we could do something with high-pressure fogging: Bring cooling, give a more pleasant climate for crops, animals and human beings. The Dutch pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai is a wonderful showcase for this. 
We were also able to make a small contribution to the opening day with the “Wolkenmaker” (cloud maker) during the “November 3”-session, it was completely clear: we can show our versatility! And thus it has been a great kick-off in a dynamic region where a lot is happening and that fits in our aim to offer solutions worldwide. So yes, actively participating in the World Expo is a great opportunity to put our country and companies further on the map!´

The World Expo is a grand meeting place where everybody with an interest in food and food production can meet. What message do you have for potential visitors to the World Expo?

Jurnjan: ´The Emirates have really done a fantastic job in hosting this event. There is lots to do and see for young and old. For any individual there is so much to discover and get inspired by. Business wise, it also offers great networking opportunities.
The World Expo 2020 touches on the themes of how to deal with the earth in a more sustainable way, each country from its own perspective. Ultimately, it’s one big source of inspiration! And the same goes for what we can do with small droplets (3-5 microns), minimal water usage, possibilities for a more hygienic environment, etc.´

John: ´I agree. You have to see it to believe it. The World Expo 2020 is full of inventions, ideas, inspiration, global community and above all; mutual concern of how to behave and treat our dear planet. The solutions are there, so come and be inspired! The UAE created a platform for us to showcase possibilities on creating a better, safer and more sustainable planet.´

Interview continues below the video of te Dutch Pavilion

Your technology is used to produce fresh food in greenhouses. When it comes to the combination of (high tech) technology and the production of high quality fresh food, the average consumer does not always know or even trust what is going on in a greenhouse. What should every consumer know about food production in greenhouses?

John: ´Most important is for everyone to know that production in greenhouses, in fact, is the most safe and healthy produce there is. Food is grown in a closed and controlled environment without making use of pesticides and insecticides. It is biologically controlled and ready to eat!´

Jurnjan: ´What consumers should also be pleased about is that so much richness has been created in the past decades in terms of taste and quality of many fruits and vegetables. Look at tomatoes, strawberries, etc: There are so many new varieties! Besides that, it is naive to think that all of our food can be grown outdoors and in a traditional way.
Controlled environmental agriculture is the way forward! It allows for avoiding long logistic supply chains and bringing food close to consumers (again). In all modesty, we are happy to have a small (micron) contribution to that, helping with better yields and fruit quality.´

BOM Group and MJ Tech are dedicated contributors to Eat This. Why is participation to this expanding international platform important to you and what do you hope to achieve in the longer run?

John: ´Participation and cooperation is always important. To show the people that food is grown by means of modern technology is still a challenge and for many still not quite understandable. Any platform which supports this topic can count on our support!´

Jurnjan: ´Agreed. What drove us to participate in the World Expo 2020, but also in Eat This, is finding and sharing solutions for a more sustainable future of food. 

A lot is happening in the world today in terms of the climate and climate change. What role do you see for the horticultural sector or what message does the sector have or should have in the current climate debate?

Jurnjan: ´The essence is that we, the horticultural sector, Walk the Talk. There is no passing things off: We need to take responsibility and deliver. The technology is there, let us be the “doers”.´

John: ´The horticultural industry should explain and promote more clearly how little energy and water food is needed to produce healthy food in controlled environments. Many still think that the industry is a massive gas consumer, which is simply not true. Sure, gas is used, but to its minimum if you compare it to the amount of produce you get in return. Also, the industry is a pioneer in finding and using new energy sources and uses that to the max. There is no industry evolving as fast as the horticultural industry!´
Photo: V8 Architects

This interview is part of our Inside Out series of in-depth interviews with our contributors. Follow us on Instagram or Twitter for updates!