In 2022 we approved the investment to create a group of greenhouses with the NGS recirculating hydroponic system. We have dedicated 1 hectare of the 18.5 hectares we have on our Humilladero farm to this project.
After analysing several crops, we finally decided to plant pitaya in its variety Caramel of Dessertexclusive to New Growing Systemthe company under whose technology we have set up our greenhouse. Our production capacity in them is approximately 64 MT/year.
Our decision was based on the strong potential of this tropical fruit and the interesting prices at which the market is processing it. The pitaya, pitahaya or dragon fruit, as it is also known, has its origins in Central America although its cultivation and consumption has spread to different parts of the world, mainly Asia. In Europe it has spread strongly in the last few years and at the moment the European marketing channel maintains an important demand for the product.
It must be taken into account that quality standards are very important when placing this fruit on the market. It is necessary to grow a product of medium-large size and with a level that reaches or exceeds 17 degrees Brix.
We soon realised that this is not easy to achieve by planting outdoors in the average Spanish climate. The pitaya grown in this way in our country has a low weight and rarely reaches the right Brix level. To achieve these objectives we needed to do it in climate-controlled greenhouses.
It was in this process that we opted for the NGS recirculating hydroponic system. A system that provides us with:
- Full automation. The greenhouses are high-tech and all elements are controlled via internet connectivity or local electronic systems.
- Systems whose behaviour can be automated through climatic or other parameters.
- Climate control through ventilation, misting and heating systems, automatically controlled by the systems indicated.
- Very low water consumption when using the NGS recirculation system. Contrary to what happens with some varieties that have recently become so abundant in our soil, such as mango or avocado, the water footprint of our plantation is practically nil because, together with the recirculation system, we have added another system for collecting rainwater, which is used for irrigation, so that we do not contribute to the overexploitation of aquifers.