How has the pandemic affected your operations?
Will Teeuwen, Grower
Just before the 2020 asparagus season, we were hit with lockdowns and closed borders in Europe which meant a significant amount of those who had worked at Teboza in past years were unable to return. With enormous effort by everyone in our organisation, we were able to fill the gap, such as by deploying workers from other sectors. This year, we have been in close contact with our employees, and we took control of the entire process from local testing before departure, safe travel and safe accommodation. We have also set up a test and quarantine policy in collaboration with the government and our health and safety officer. We see that after one year away, many people are happy to work with us again and we expect we’ll have enough people to harvest and process every kilogram. The deployment of personnel from other sectors, small-scale accommodation, extra hygiene measures and more and small-scale transport have led to considerable additional costs in the past year, and will also lead to extra costs in the coming year and possibly the coming years.
How has it affected marketing, consumption and logistics?
As in most of Europe, in 2020 the catering industry was closed for almost all the asparagus season. As we expect a similar situation in 2021, our catering-related customers face another difficult year. However home consumption has been remarkably good and has offset the lower turnover. While sustainability in packaging has been an important theme in recent years, last year we saw that from a hygiene point of view, more asparagus was packed in plastic, such as flow packs and trays. We have not experienced any inconvenience with regard to the transport of our products to customers at home and abroad.