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Country's largest greenhouse complex planned in Prekmurje

Dobrovnik, 27 June (STA) - Slovenia's northeastern-most region will become home to the largest greenhouse vegetable production complex in the country in an investment valued at EUR 80 million. Production is set to begin in 2026.


The GreenGardens project was presented on Thursday in Dobrovnik, where its partners plan to erect greenhouses on a 22-hectare plot to produce vegetables in a sustainable way, using renewable energy.

The partners, Matej Bandelj and Gregor Počivavšek, said the high-tech sustainable production could increase Slovenia's self-sufficiency for some types of vegetables by more than 10%.

They are planning to grow lettuce on around five hectares, while offering the remaining ten hectares of net production surfaces to other interested growers, who have already expressed interest.

Being grown in a controlled environment, with optimum conditions in terms of heat, moisture, light and nutrients, the vegetables will be able to thrive throughput the year, Bandelj said.

The project is designed to maximise the use of renewable energy sources available on the site by leveraging geothermal and solar energy, constant low groundwater temperatures and technologically-advanced greenhouse solutions.

The greenhouse zone will be developed in three phases with first production set to start at the end of 2025 or the beginning of 2026.

The entire project is valued at roughly EUR 80 million and is to create between 100 and 150 jobs.

Aside from net production surfaces, the facility will also include rainwater storage tanks, paved transport areas, cold storage, engine rooms and other technical rooms.

The bilingual municipality on the border with Hungary, which already hosts the greenhouses of orchid grower Ocean Orchids, welcomed the investment and the jobs it brings.

"Our ultimate goal is to focus on a strategic programme of healthy home-grown food in addition to all existing economic and entrepreneurial programmes," Dobrovnik Mayor Marjan Kardinar said.

According to Forbes Slovenija, the project involves three partners, aside from Matej Bandelj and Gregor Počivavšek, also Boštjan Bandlej, one of the wealthiest Slovenians and owner of the emission coupons trader Belektron, one of Slovenia's biggest companies in terms of turnover.

"When we started looking for a suitable plot in 2020, Slovenia had 48% vegetable self-sufficiency, today it has 33%," Matej Bandelj told Forbes.

Official statistics put lettuce self-sufficiency at 25% as of 2023, which by planting it on the five hectares they could raise to 53%, he added.

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