Far from the auction in Aalsmeer, in the Belgian town of Erpe, is where Koen and Marian de Nijs grow their carnations. They do this following the Dutch example, but with a Belgian twist. There are, for example, differences in the legislation regarding labour and crop protection between the two countries. “Crop protection should really be the same throughout Europe”, says Koen de Nijs.
It’s hard to imagine that the surroundings of the Belgian town of Aalst were once the centre of a flourishing floricultural industry. The research centre in Destelbergen is still there, but the auction left a long time ago, just like most of the growers. Many of the carnation growers of the previous century switched to roses in the nineties. However, around the turn of the century, they still went belly-up due to the increased oil prices and the competition from abroad.
Click here to read the full article (subscribers only).