‘Contrast between flowers and plants is enormous’

All of us working in the floricultural industry, wherever we are in the world, are more or less in the same boat. Most of the things I read about other countries sound similar to our own experiences. It’s hard to believe what we’re going through. Such strange times. After three difficult months, we ended the month of June with a 43% turnover increase! And I dare say that July is probably going to be even better.

The contrast between the different products and producers is enormous, though. The situation of flowering plants has normalised. But the demand for green plants is extremely high, while the cut-flower segment is facing huge problems due to the cancellation of events and celebrations.

We’ve joined forces with growers and customers to try and sell more cut flowers for personal use via the retailers. Cut-flower growers have also started to look for alternatives, and some of them are partially switching to pot plants, fruit or vegetables. It’s almost certain that the lost production will lead to price increases for cut flowers in the coming months.

We’re holding our General Members’ Meeting this week. All 400 members are invited. For safety reasons, we’ll be using our distribution hall. It’s a large, open and well-ventilated space. Three board members will be leaving us, and our members will be voting for new board members. There’s a wealth of experience going out, but we’ll also get some welcome rejuvenation in return.

The board of management will seek our members’ approval for the 2019 annual report as well as for several measures that have been taken during the past few months. It concerns measures that were taken by the board to support the members.

Despite the pandemic, we’ll also propose an investment plan for an accelerated 12,500-m2 expansion of the customer facilities. The demand for more space is huge at the moment. This way, we should be able to realise the extra facilities by Mother’s Day 2021. Who would have guessed three months ago that things would improve this quickly?

Luckily, the general situation in Brazil is gradually improving too. The lockdowns are being lifted. The auction is up and running again, in line with the new normal. However, the shift from clock sales to digital sales and intermediary services is continuing. Auction presale, in particular, has become a permanent feature. The question is whether the clock supply will ever return to the old levels. Now that everyone has familiarised themselves with the digital services and made it part of their routine, I’d say there will almost certainly be some lasting effects.

I sincerely hope that things will improve for other entrepreneurs too. For restaurants, gyms, retailers and tourism, for example. Holambra is a popular tourist destination. But the outdoor cafes have been empty for a long time now. The town is deserted. We’ve got to adjust, and accept the circumstances. Let’s stay positive and keep working for a prosperous future.

André van Kruijssen,

CEO Veiling Holambra, Brazil

Click here to read more blogs from André.

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