16 March 2020
AALSMEER, Netherlands: Empty aisles and a handful of visitors at Royal FloraHolland’s Trade Fair Naaldwijk did not bode well for grower and traders alike. Now, only four days the event closed its door, Royal FloraHolland says that the coronavirus outbreak is dampening consumer demand causing record low prices and a heart-wrenching destruction of surplus flowers. Royal FloraHolland’s CEO Stefan van Schilfgaarde says, “the global spread of the coronavirus could not have come at a worse time of year for plant growers. This is a historical crisis.”
The coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the global economy and the ornamental horticulture industry is no difference. At Dutch-based Royal FloraHolland, often touted the Wall Street for Flowers, the coronavirus risks to wilt the flower industry. “Without emergency loans from the government and banks, many companies will go bankrupt within a few weeks,” states Royal FloraHolland.
As a result of the drop in demand, Royal FloraHolland’s auctions are not only characterised by very low prices, but also by a large number unsold stock of high-quality products. This has never happened on such a scale in the history of the more than 100-year-old cooperative.
The floricultural industry is the third export sector in the Netherlands. In addition to mainports Schiphol and the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands is also the international hub for cut flowers and plants. Approximately 35% of global exports is sold through the Netherlands. The export of flowers and plants amounts to 6.2 billion euros. Approximately 150,000 people works in floricultural industry, which . Floricultural products occupies a unique position because it concerns daily fresh products.
Steven van Schilfgaarde, CEO of Royal FloraHolland: “The market situation is dramatic. Last two weeks prices were up to 50 percent lower than normal. Last Friday, twenty percent of the supply was destroyed because there were no buyers for it. Expectations for the coming weeks are even worse. This is normally the peak period for floriculture in the run-up to Mother’s Day in several countries. The usual turnover in this period is 150 to 200 million per week. This crisis comes at the worst possible moment. Without emergency loans from the government and banks and other forms of financial support, healthy businesses will soon collapse in the bushes. Branch-wide, we call for action before it is too late. It really is a few minutes before twelve.”
Royal FloraHolland advice to maintaining the export of cut flowers and plants for as long as possible. If the export drops out, it means the end for many floriculture companies if no support is provided. The auction says it is doing “everything in its power to support growers and trading companies, but the sector does not have the means to cope with this crisis.”
With more than 100,000 transactions per day and more than 30,000 different types of flowers and plants, Royal FloraHolland is the international marketplace and knowledge partner that contributes to the success of growers and buyers. Royal FloraHolland has an annual turnover of 4.65 billion euros, 4,031 members and 2,465 buyers. In 2018, 12.1 billion flowers and plants were sold. In addition to the Floriday digital platform, Royal FloraHolland has 4 physical marketplaces where numerous logistics and other service activities are carried out. These physical hubs are located in Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg and Eelde. Royal FloraHolland offers the possibility of digital and physical auctioning by means of 35 auction clocks.