Between 27 March and 7 April, 3,900 Dutch growers and traders of flowers and plants cast their votes on a new funding mechanism that would secure the Flower Council of Holland’s existence. While a majority of growers support the initiative, traders in floricultural products overwhelmingly voted against it.
Funding for Flower Council of Holland activities must be organised differently from 1 January 2024. Royal FloraHolland has announced that it will stop collecting payment from supplying growers and buying traders as of that date.
From then on, the Flower Council of Holland wants to organise its funding via a General Binding Declaration (GBD) financed by all companies.
The main objection to the auction is that an uneven playing field has developed because ‘free riders’ are benefiting from the added value of collective activities without paying for it. The basic principle behind the GBD is that everyone contributes, including companies that do not supply or buy their cut flowers or house plants from Royal FloraHolland.
The introduction of the GBD will have financial consequences for companies that currently trade outside the auction, either in full or in part. To ensure that the financial transition will not be too dramatic, the decision has been made to give all growers and trading companies a refund of 15 per cent of the total contribution to the Flower Council of Holland. This includes only companies that currently trade and contribute entirely via RFH.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Association of Wholesalers in Floricultural Products (VGB), representing 80 per cent of the Dutch trade, accuses Royal FloraHolland of irresponsible behaviour by putting at risk the very existence of the Flower Council of Holland and its generic floral promotion activities.
It predicts that the GBD for sector promotion will cause chaos and confusion and is proof of an unrealistic funding mechanism for trading companies and growers. It says it will turn the generic promotion dream into a nightmare for Dutch ornamental horticulture.
VGB chair Cees van der Meij underlines that a majority of his members are in favour of generic promotion and are willing to contribute to it, that is, under the current financial criteria and funding mechanism. He urges Royal FloraHolland ‘to engage in introspection’ and to continue funding the Flower Council of Holland the way it has always been done. He says, “The VGB has more than once warned on the risk of adopting a GBD which will automatically mean pulling the plug on the Flower Council. This is a situation we would truly regret, especially in an era where our sector is constantly under threat by media and environmentalists who question the industry’s pollution and climate impact.”