During the past 15 years of our stay in Kenya, our trips to Europe have always been short and intense. We’d always go three times a year for a two-week trip and we wouldn’t spend more than a few days in one place. With a house in Spain, a wife from England and relatives in Berkel en Rodenrijs, it’s been difficult to keep everyone happy. There were always some friends and acquaintances who had to wait.
But now that the new generation is successfully taking over, both in Timaflor and Lolomarik, my trips have been getting longer. The most recent one was five weeks. My wife was delighted. Finally, we could stay in Spain for longer than the usual 3-4 days. However, Fresco threw a spanner in the works.
They organised their first meet-and-greet right in the middle of our holiday in Spain. My initial reaction was: that’ll go ahead just fine without me. But even my wife felt that, as one of Fresco’s loyal customers and considering our long relationship with Gerjan, we should attend.
So, the long holiday in Spain remains something I owe her. And my racing bicycle over there also has to wait a bit longer before it’s getting some more serious usage.
The meet-and-greet was absolutely worth it, people from all corners of the industry had come to it. Of course, I went to many of these kinds of meetings during my EAF / TFA days and it was remarkable to see how little has changed during a 20-year period.
Personal contact continues to be of such great importance. I spoke with colleague growers, buyers, auction staff, auctioneers, bank managers, breeders and many other people from the industry. Including machine manufacturers and airlines.
The only big difference with 20 years ago, is that back then, these kind of meetings would take place at the auction. The clock had a central place and the gallery was our daily meet-and-greet. You’d go to gallery B to negotiate and you’d always meet people from the industry. The gallery was the meeting point.
So, there’s work to be done for FloraHolland: they need to create a new, permanent meet-and-greet. At the moment, Aalsmeer doesn’t offer more than two pitiful benches in the canteen with a few pathetic screens without sound. Most exporters are miles ahead of FloraHolland with their dealing rooms.
How great would that be: a large dealing room for all the auctioneers, surrounded by comfortable spaces for buyers and growers; a place that everyone would like to visit in order to stay in touch with the industry. At the moment, I mostly find myself sitting there with Theo. There’s only space for two people. Theo represents a few Dutch growers. After an hour or so, I’m completely up to date on everything that goes on in the Netherlands, and he knows everything about Kenya.
It’s so important to know what’s going on, so FloraHolland, do something about this, so that everyone can benefit. Not just Theo and me.
Simon van der Burg,
Rose grower, Timau, Kenya