Prices remain under pressure as coronavirus fears grip Europe

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AALSMEER, Netherlands: Prices for cut flowers, potted plants and bedding plants remain under pressure today with percentages of unsold potted plants and bedding plants up from yesterday. Meanwhile, Royal FloraHolland has announced further  market interventions for next week to help their members through the coronavirus outbreak.

The mood among Royal FloraHolland’s buying audience at this morning’s auction remained nervous with cut the whole range of ornamentals taking a hit. Again prices have been 50 per cent lower than was typical for this time of year. Hardest hit today were potted plants and bedding plants with more than 50 per cent of unsold products ending up in the landfill.

The famous hub of the global flower trade struggles to adapt to ‘new normal’ amid bleak sales and ordered its members on Monday 16 March to restrict supplies. In cut flowers, growers were allowed to auction off not more than 30% of the volume supplied on Tuesday last week, in potted plants and garden/bedding plants these percentages are 50 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.

Although this morning median prices for cut flowers slightly improved, there was another market carnage as for 50 per cent of the potted plants and bedding plants it resulted impossible to find a buyer subsequently followed by heart-wrenching crop destruction.

The restrictions in supply announced yesterday will also apply to tomorrow’s auction when auctioneers will check more thoroughly if every growers respects the new supply restrictions.

For today’s auction, suppliers of indoor plants and garden plants have largely adhered to the new regulations. On the flower clocks, however, the supply percentages were higher than permitted. The auction fully understands the need of all growers to generate turnover, but is quick to add that this is also a time for cooperative spirit and solidarity.

In order to give growers more opportunity to sell their clock supply before the start of the auction, the maximum percentage for pre-auction sales has been increased to 75%. The auction hopes that this additional measure will allow growers to generate more sales.

In the coming days, Royal FloraHolland wishes to further refine the rules where necessary and in close consultation with the auctioneers. One option is to temporarily suspend quality checks. Another measure which is set to come into effect next week is regarding those growers who mostly sold their products directly without any intervention at the clock. Direct sales have basically come to a complete standstill.

These supply regulating emergency measures will be reviewed from day to day on the basis of the information the auction has at its disposal. Royal FloraHolland says it implementing these new rules with a heavy hart. In the coming days, the auction will assess on a daily basis which additional measures are necessary with regard to the supply.

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