We’ve been here for four days now and we’re starting to get the impression that the Canadian growers have been doing good business recently. Or, to put it more bluntly, that they’ve been raking it in. Maybe we should start our own little nursery here.
Our group consists of eight growers from the Dutch Westland area plus myself. Time and again, we hear from growers that business is going well. This afternoon it was Peter Boekestyn, of Boekestyn Greenhouses/Flora Pack, who told us exactly that. “The past two years have been better than ever. By miles”, he said. A clear statement.
Boekestyn grows pot gerberas and kalanchoe all year round, plus pot lillies for six months and cyclamen for six months. In addition, he sells a wide range of products that he purchases from other growers. 80% of the products that Flora Pack sells isn’t home-grown. This isn’t unusual for growers who manage their own distribution. The market demands a wide range.
Earlier today, we visited the brothers Staalduinen of Bayview Flowers, another wholesale nursery. They grow their own pot gerberas and kalanchoe and they also buy produce from other growers. And they sit down and negotiate with supermarkets from the USA, to sell their goods. They confirm that business has been good for them, too.
The Canadian growers seem to be making loads of money at the moment. As a result, companies are investing. Many of them are expanding. Almost all the growers that we visited, told us about all the great plans they’ve got lined up. The Staalduinen brothers invested in automation. Aaron van der Lugt of Aldershot Greenhouses was talking about a new machine for planting pot rose cuttings, and he mentioned his expansion plans too. And this morning, Peter van Beurden of Westland Greenhouses – who, just like all the other growers, showed us an amazing range of products – also said he might add another greenhouse.
An advantage for these growers is that there’s currently a huge demand for greenhouses. So if they get fed up and fancy moving to the Bahamas, they’ll have no problem selling their greenhouse there and then, for a good price. Recently introduced rules are now making it possible to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes. And if everything goes according to plan, cultivation for recreational use will be allowed as from next year. The prospect of being able to get rich quick, has already encouraged a number of entrepreneurs to buy a greenhouse. With the cultivation of cannabis, you could easily earn around 1,000 dollar per m2 per year.
However, the growers that we spoke to said they weren’t interested in growing cannabis. It’s so heavily regulated from higher up, they said they’d be afraid to lose their freedom. And your greenhouse would have to be adjusted so much, it would be turned into some sort of Fort Knox. Furthermore, there’s no need for growers to try higher realms, business is doing fine as it is.
Things haven’t always been great for the Canadian floricultural industry, though. Growers were more than ready for a few good years. Boekestyn for example, explained that the floricultural industry had to deal with the negative impact of the unfavourable exchange rate of the American against the Canadian dollar, for about ten years. At some stage, the Canadian dollar was worth even more than the American. Many growers had to give up.
But now, things have turned around again, and the Canadians are getting more CADs for their USDs. The growers’ sales on the American market have gone up and the value of those sales has increased as well.
So, what do all those growers, with their great Westland surnames, do with their new earnings? Spend, of course. And what do the visiting Westland growers and their journalist friend, who got to admire all that wealth, do? Find their own greenhouse in beautiful Canada, of course.
What will we grow? Cut flowers, potted plants or cannabis? We haven’t quite decided on that yet.