The Dutch tomato producer Agro Care brought the first Fair Trade certified tomatoes to the Dutch market last year. These tomatoes can be found on the shelves at supermarket chains Hoogvliet and COOP. Agro Care produces these tomatoes at the Desert Joy location in Tunisia which is a joint venture between the company and a Tunisian tomato grower.
Agro Care is one of the largest tomato producers in the Netherlands. This company established Desert Joy in 2013. As a result of the beneficial local production environment and climate, Agro Care can provide its customers a high quality and uniform Desert Joy product all year round.
Biological crop protection is an important element in their quality policy. Agro Care has made great strides in this regard, and a significant portion of production in the Netherlands is sold residue-free, meaning it has been produced without any chemical crop protection substances. As a result, the company is known as a leader in the industry.
A great employer
When Desert Joy was founded, the owners not only recognized a market opportunity, but also an opportunity to contribute to strengthening the regional economy of southern Tunisia. Philip van Antwerpen, one of the directors of Agro Care, explains, ‘Not only are we creating new jobs which will bolster the economy of the region, we also want to be a good employer. This is why we pay good wages, provide employees with the opportunity for further development, work towards equal rights for women in the region, and provide our employees with transport to and from work. At Desert Joy, we promote mutual respect.’
The first in Africa
People and the environment are a priority for Desert Joy. The company plants new trees and, just like Agro Care in the Netherlands, invests in promoting biological crop protection. This is why Desert Joy is working together with Koppert Biological Systems and Koppert’s local partner Nutriplant, and the collaboration has certainly paid off. Desert Joy is the first tomato-producing company on the African continent to be Fair Trade certified!