50% of the Dutch greenhouse vegetable companies are currently unable to fulfill their tax liabilities and an additional 15% lacks the financial means to invest in their own company. The last 35% of the sector is also going to face difficult times if the sector doesn’t change. Greenhouse growers have the specific question about how they can increase their margins and how to establish a profitable business case.
An important reason for the current state of the sector seems to be the current market structure. The market lacks the presence of a transparent process of price setting between the demand of consumers and retailers, and the supply of the greenhouse growers. This results in insufficient earnings for greenhouse growers and not always good quality for the consumers.
In this project an innovative market simulation is being developed using agent technology by the Hogeschool Inholland and TU Delft in cooperation with greenhouse growers, chain partners and knowledge institution LEI Wageningen UR. The simulation which is being developed, offers producers and chain partners a safe environment to “experiment”. With the simulation research is being conducted about market functioning and the possibilities for improvement of the business cases of greenhouse growers by putting products on the market in a more distinctive way with a good margin.
The research leads to new knowledge about a) the functioning of the current, not transparent, market in greenhouse vegetables; b) possibilities to improve business cases of MKB greenhouse growers with new market mechanisms and chain collaborations and c) the possibilities for modelling a complex market with agent technology. In addition, the simulation is – with proven success – immediately a stepping stone for possible new large scale market mechanism for the greenhouse vegetable sector, such as distributed “digital auction(s)”.