As I write my column, the firecracker celebrations for the Chinese New Year are through, heralding the beginning of the Year of the Ox.
How different is the situation in China one year later? We all remember how Covid-19 first engulfed this country, followed by a major lockdown. Currently, the pandemic here seems to be well under control. Most Chinese cities and businesses are open, but they vigilantly keep watch. Once a virus outbreak is detected, the authorities take strict measures to lockdown and secure the area without fuss. China’s extreme enforcements prove successful, mainly because residents strictly follow precautions.
In 2020, the Chinese economy witnessed a positive growth of 2.3 per cent, with an increase in demand for flowers.
As we all know, China represents a big consumer market with a significant portion of its cut flowers grown in its territory, and Kunming is the country’s epicentre of cut flower production.
Simultaneously, China sources cut flowers from other countries in Asia, such as Thailand (orchids), Taiwan (orchids) and Vietnam (carnation, alstroemeria).
There are several regions in Asia where the climate, water sources, availability of labour and altitude allow year-round production of a wide range of cut flowers.
Over the past decade, European breeders and greenhouse builders have found inroads to trade in the East. They support the local initiatives with custom-made greenhouses and varieties.
Currently, there is a wide range of locally grown cut flowers available. In addition, some locally developed varieties have their places, (potted) orchids, for example, are produced in all kinds of colours and shapes, and roses, carnation, alstroemeria, eucalyptus are getting stronger.
There is an improvement in quality standards in production, and from the perspective of logistics, the movement of supplies is becoming a lot smoother into
China is experiencing growth in local demand for local production. More and more people are accustomed to buying flowers for special occasions in the office or at home.
And this leads to extra demand for imported flowers when local productions are low in terms of quality and quantity.
In conclusion, this large population of 1.4 billion people has a continuous demand for international flowers from other markets such as The Netherlands, Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya, Thailand or Vietnam.
This appeal is in evidence by the increasing demand for home/and office decoration flowers (especially ilex and forsythia) during this year’s Chinese New Year period (11-17 February) and imported red/or pink quality roses for Valentine’s Day. The logistics industry managed distribution and ensured adequate capacity was available to supply the Chinese market.
Fred van Tol
Manager of International Development