Online flower market needs review of Dutch plant health inspection fees

WESTLAND, Netherlands: Potted, the emerging online flower and plant delivery service for flower shops, florists and retailers worldwide, would like the Dutch government to consider lowering fees for the health inspection services by the nation’s authorised authority KCB.

Potted is part of a growing segment of the Dutch floral industry getting crushed by rising plant health inspection fees. The inspection, required to obtain a phytosanitary certificate, of a shipment of ten potted hydrangea plants to the final consumer in the UK amounts to 114,72 euros incl. VAT, they say.

The company argues this is an exceptionally high cost for this service, especially considering that the same hydrangeas sourced from the grower at 6,30 euros incl. VAT per pot.
Additional costs combined for plant health inspection, export declarations, and transportation and delivery cause the price for the end consumer to become unreasonably high.

As a result, a significant portion of florists and other customers can no longer afford to buy the products they need from online stores such as Potted, which provide its clients with the widest range, minimum quantities and premium quality of Dutch plants and flowers.

Potted thinks their customers have no other solution to wait until the plants they need are on sale on the domestic market, primarily supplied by large wholesalers. The frustration is that only large wholesalers benefit from KCB’s current rates. What’s more, even one singular houseplant plant for export to the UK  and other countries needs plant health inspection.

Potted is now calling to the KCB and the Dutch ministry for agriculture to deal review the fees. There should come new fees for the online market and new prices for phyto-certification of goods.

The cost of KCB inspection consists of two parts: (i) the fixed costs, which are approximately 68 euros excl. VAT and (ii) the cost of physical inspection on location.
The fixed costs are charged every time the inspector comes to the location. They are annually revised on January 1st.

The cost per minute of the inspector’s time is about 1,67 euros excl. VAT. Usually, the inspector spends 20 to 25 minutes on the location. So if the inspector spends only 15 minutes, the total cost of such an inspection is about 94 euros excl. VAT. According to information Potted received from the authorised persons, the rates for inspections will increase due to the lack of inspectors.

In Potted’s view, the rates of plant inspection settled by KCB and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) are too high. They stand in the way for the futher development of online stores that sell their products worldwide, not only for Potted but e-commerce as a whole.

Potted would like to  see  that in 2022 KCB and the Ministry of Agriculture will revise the format of work and take steps towards e-commerce business. There are excellent examples from other governing bodies such as Dutch Customs which designed DECO and VENUE, efficient declaration systems for import of e-commerce goods and a simplified declaration system for the import and export of e-commerce goods.

This article is a co-production of Vadim Bogdanov and Ron van der Ploeg.

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