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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Using Geothermal Heating to Expand an Orchid Production Business


Capitalising on experience gained in the Netherlands, two Slovenian business partners have created a highly efficient geothermal heating system, and doubled production, turnover and staff in this orchid enterprise in remote north-east Slovenia.



The region Prekmurje (literally "over the River Mura") is the most remote in Slovenia bordering Hungary and Croatia and has the highest unemployment. In 2003 two business partners with previous growing and marketing experience in Netherlands established their first 1.6 hectares of orchid production using geothermal sources to heat the greenhouses. After refining their production and marketing systems they saw great potential to expand the enterprise and capture a bigger market share.


The aim was to make more efficient use of the available geothermal heat by expanding the greenhouse area and farm output and through this achieving a lower cost per unit of production, thus making the enterprise more profitable. This could be achieved also through job creation to operate and manage the expanded business.

Main activities

Planning down to the smallest detail was the key to successful implementation of this project. Financial planning advisers were contracted to prepare the business plan, making use of the technical knowledge of the owners. Over a five-year period the founders created a "cascade heating system" making highly efficient use of the geothermal resources in their rural area. A show room for visitors and student groups was included in the expansion.

Results & Benefits

An immediate benefit has been the creation of 15 new full-time jobs, raising the total employed to 29, averaging 33 years of age. Over 85% of all energy required is from geothermal supply and thus renewable. The amount of energy required to produce individual plants has decreased by 15%. Production has more than doubled to 1.2 million flowering pot plants, with a similar increase in turnover.

Lessons learnt

It's hard to beat experience! In 2005 the company applied for rural development funds but they lacked the know-how (technical and administrative) to gain approval. Five years later, they were able to present a well-researched and planned document to the authorities leading to a successful outcome. They have retained and profited from their links with Dutch partner companies, for young plant supply, greenhouse construction and marketing.

Project location and other information

Dobrovnik 297, 9223 Dobrovnik, Slovenia



RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

3 197 993

EAFRD contribution (€)

500 000

National contribution (€)

500 000

Private contribution (€)

2 197 993

Project website

Contact name

Roman Ferencak


+386 2 573 7305

Languages for contact

English, Slovene

At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Individual farmers

Budget range

> €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Competitiveness of Agriculture & Forestry
• Restructuring, developing physical potential, and promoting innovation
• 121. Modernisation of agricultural holdings


Technology transfer, Employment, Modernisation, Environmental impact

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