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“I own a tree nursery and want to expand the business, but I’m limited in the Netherlands. Which fruit tree offers the best opportunity in which countries?” That was the question the largest fruit tree nursery in the Netherlands gave to 6 HAS students, including Business Management in Agriculture & Food students, QingQing (22) and Patrick (23).

Market research

An assignment with an international focus? It’s great that the group working on this assignment is also international. QingQing is a Chinese student who’s spending 5 months studying at HAS University of Applied Sciences: “Where in the world are there best opportunities for which fruit tree? I don’t think you could get a broader assignment than this ?. And then you need to come up with an answer within just 10 weeks. That’s quite a challenge. We started with a broad perspective: we looked at the location, labour conditions, political situation, available technology, etc. And then we kept zooming in. We learnt a lot in a short space of time. About market research, entrepreneurialism, fruit consumption, the fruit tree market, etc. That made it a really cool project to do.”

Think in terms of opportunities

The project was even more relevant for the company because they are struggling with limited space. “Cultivating fruit trees requires fresh soil and this is becoming scarcer here,” Patrick, who grew up in France, explains. “In a generally traditional market, ‘our’ grower was a real entrepreneur. It was really inspiring to work with someone who looks beyond their own borders. Someone who doesn’t think in terms of threats, but in terms of opportunities.”

Surprising insights

In the end, the ’battle’ was between 3 countries: Spain, Egypt and Georgia. Georgia was the winner. In addition to this knowledge, the research also gave the entrepreneur some surprising insights. The students pointed out the opportunities offered by the ‘Nashi’ in Europe. A pear that looks like an apple and is very popular in Asia, but not yet in Europe. The conditions for cultivation are also ideal here and more and more Asians who love their Nashi are coming to Europe. Patrick: “That might be the most important thing we learned: there are opportunities. Always. Everywhere. The trick is spotting them...”