Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab 2022-2023: Sustainable Horticulture Agadir


LDE Centre for Sustainability, HortiTech and World Horti Center have joined forces in their mission to set up greenhouse activities in a sustainable manner in Agadir, Morocco. From February to July 2023, we are running the LDE CfS Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab Sustainable Horticulture Agadir. The lab program includes a 9-days excursion to Morocco, in which students will get an overview of the sustainability and horticulture challenges in Agadir. 

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Challenge: How can protected greenhouse activities be set up in a sustainable manner with low water use in Agadir, Morocco? 

The world’s population is growing, urbanizing and is demanding safe and healthy food, available in sufficient quantity at good quality. The Netherlands are in a leading position in protective cultivation. Below The Hague and next to Delft and Rotterdam is the “Westland” region, a world technology- and production champion both in quality and quantity. The technology is not only used locally, for the European market but is exported around the globe. There’s hardly any country in which no Dutch horticulture technology can be found, ranging from seeds to complete greenhouses.

An example of this is Agadir region, at the Westcoast of Morocco. With a total cultivation area of 20.000 ha of mainly plastic greenhouses the Agadir region is one of the biggest greenhouse areas in Africa. They are facing the challenge of water usage of the greenhouse in relation to the efficiency of production. The Moroccan government together with the Dutch government have the ambition of creating a centre of excellence Horticulture at the Campus of the Institute Agriculture et Veterinaire (IAV) Hassan II just south of Agadir.

For this purpose, the Dutch companies HortiTech and HortiXS are currently building a greenhouse for demonstration and research purposes on sight of the campus. Other Dutch protected cultivation companies are also involved developments in Agadir, by sharing their knowledge and expertise through an 'Impact Cluster’. All these companies are also united in the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk, The Netherlands. WHC is the knowledge and innovation center for international greenhouse horticulture.

One of the key questions is how protected greenhouse activities – glass or plastic greenhouses – can be set up in a sustainable manner with low water use in Agadir, Morocco. The area of Agadir is facing scarcity of water resources: moderate rainfall, empty reservoirs, salinization, absence of water recirculation, and high use of water in current horticulture production. They are also facing diseases and pests in crops, a high amount of sodium and chlorine and a lack of knowledge on the production of tomatoes.

Agadir is looking for strategies, practices and production systems that offer advantages in terms of horticulture production, but are also resilient and reduce the impact of climate change. The Dutch companies are looking how they can support this area with their knowledge and technology and build an innovation network.

About the Case Holder 

The Impact Cluster Agadir is managed by HortiTech. HortiTech’s director Peet van Adrichem has been the founder father of the DemoNursery Westland and the World Horti Center (WHC), both in Naaldwijk, Based on its Dutch knowledge, expertise and heritage, HortiTech is active on a global level in organizing centers in which horticulture knowledge, innovation is directly transferred to (practical) growers.

In case of Agadir a vast group of Dutch companies – organized in the Learning Community of World Horti Center – comes along in creating together with HortiTech, the Impact Cluster. This cluster will be (aim) financially supported by the Dutch Embassy in Rabat, through a so called Impact Cluster funding by the Dutch Agency for Entrepreneurship (RVO).

HortiTechWorld Horti Center




Lab Program

ProgramLab Program


Interdisciplinary Results 

Bringing together all the individual projects and different perspectives, the Sustainable Horticulture Agadir Lab produced an overarching, interdisciplinary result with a shared conclusion. 

Interdisciplinary result sustainable horticulture 

Thesis Results 

Each student created a poster reflecting their research and findings. Click the links below to find out more about their research.

Innovation Clusters and National Culture 

Enhancing supply chain resilience with complex adaptive system perspective 

Justice in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus 

More sustainable pest management 

Data-Driven growing in developing markets 

Introduction Strategies for sustainable greenhouses in Morocco 

Environmental analysis of hydroponic farming systems for Morocco

Power dynamics in foreign-funded solar projects in Morocco