UnionFLeurs held its AGM in Warsaw last weekend. Members came from all over the world to discuss the latest developments in the floricultural industry. The atmosphere was remarkably positive – the recent growth of the Polish economy, and of the Polish floricultural industry in particular, might have contributed to this. Concerns about the lack of interest for our sector among young people are not present in Poland. On the contrary, their youth is very interested. The efforts of the Dutch Embassy also paid off.
Poland has 38 million inhabitants. The current market value lies somewhere between 800 and 900 million euros. The income per capita increased by 15% in a few years time. Plant and flower sales during that same period are estimated to have increased by 30%. This relatively low percentage shows that Polish plant and flower consumption is still fairly modest. The annual market growth percentages were around 10%.
There are still many countries in the world with more inhabitants and the same, or even higher, economic growth than Poland and the same, or even lower, plant and flower consumption, and with the same interest in our fabulous products.
An interesting question is of course: who is going to take advantage of this growth? For the time being, the Netherlands plays an important role in supplying the European market. But there are some interesting opportunities outside Europe, which may internationalise the Dutch wholesale trade.
The members of UnionFleurs have made a number of important decisions.
Until now, UnionFleurs incorporated national associations of marketing organisations from all over the world. It was decided that companies will also be able to join our organisation from now on. This will allow us to reach countries that don’t have a national structure in place yet.
UnionFleurs’ strategy, aimed at sharing international knowledge, stimulating sustainable trade across borders and stimulating plant and flower consumption, will be intensified. The Floriculture Sustainable Initiative is doing well and their community of international chain partners is growing all the time.
With regards to plants, we’re establishing a European task force with representatives from various European countries, to stimulate consumption throughout Europe.
A recent idea is to start some kind of Flower Council Europe, modelled on Flower Council Holland, to gain influence in Brussels and get better access to European promotion funds. These things are tough for individual countries. Joint action is needed to increase the influence that the floricultural industry, which is larger than the wine or chocolate industry, has in Brussels.
The meeting was ended by expressing the hope that the first WORLD FLOWER SUMMIT, which takes place on the 7th of November, will mark the beginning of a platform for further collaboration in the international floricultural industry.
Herman de Boon,
President Union Fleurs