Column: Disruption is happening all over the world

Fred van Tol

At the time of writing, the Dutch floriculture sector is going through incredibly difficult times. Since the coronavirus started to spread in Europe, one country after another took strong emergency measures to contain the pandemic outbreak. Sales of flowers and plants have collapsed very violently.

We sympathise with those directly or indirectly affected by the virus and will do everything we can to curb its spread. And care for our loved ones who need support to get out of this situation. It is tough to see how the effects are hitting our growers hard. They can do nothing but bring products to the compost heap because sending flowers to the Netherlands was too expensive. As a result, less staff are necessary, saving costs based on the individual situation, and with immediate effect.

In my working time in the industry, I have never seen such a shocking outcome. And it is not just Europe; this disruption is happening all over the world.

As a cooperative, we do everything in our power to keep our primary processes available. We adapt our working methods within the guidelines set by the government.

How demand will develop in the coming months is still unpredictable. Also, we are actively striving to bring attention to the floriculture sector more widely visible to the government, so that stimulus packages for our industry become available where necessary. Aid is needed across the entire supply chain because the availability of air cargo is just as essential as the workforce in seasonal peaks.

But we are also looking to the future. We are taking the time to think about what our world will look like after the withdrawal of coronavirus protection measures. Looking at the disruption that has occurred in our sector and also in the aviation sector. For example, will the increase in post-corona internet deliveries continue and how will we use the means of communication for our contacts in the future without travelling?

It is vital to assess how we can prepare for the new reality. We can see that the choice to set up a digital platform for global trade in flowers and plants has been a positive one. The demand for logistics support services that help platform users to process mutual transactions quickly and efficiently is also increasing. The strength of the cooperative is proving itself in these difficult times. By combining the forces of buyers and sellers, we succeed in getting everyone to do business with each other at the lowest possible transaction costs.

Take care of your health and keep courage.

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