Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Sparter the Robot to Replace Missing Eastern Europeans

The economic growth in Eastern Europe that came with EU-membership, makes it ever less attractive for its citizens to do agricultural work in Western Europe. It is the same development we saw earlier with Spanish and Italian workers, who came to countries like Germany and the Netherlands as so-called guest-workers. They almost all went home again as soon as their local economy picked up.

That brings problems to the potent Dutch agricultural sector, that relies heavily on those workers. But a solution is in sight. Agricultural work is highly repetitive and hence is suitable for automation. Like the asparagus harvesting robot in the video.

Harvesting speed: 0.3 ha/hour
Operation time: 16 hours/day
Turning circle: 6 m
Operators required: 1 man, replaces 70 human workers
Crop yield increase: 15-20% with higher quality
EU subsidy: €1.5 million
Company: Cerescon B.V. in Heeze, Netherlands
Next development target: cucumbers, mushrooms and blackberries
Entrepreneurs: Ad Vermeer en Thérèse van Vinken


[] – Sparter
[] – Aspergesteker heet straks geen Iwan of Jakub meer, maar robot Sparter
[] – Groei Oost-Europa zorgt voor steeds minder werkende Oost-Europeanen in Nederland

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