With a total export value of € 6.2 billion, Dutch plant and flower exporters turned 2019 into a new record year. Floridata’s statistics showed that, with 4.3%, the export value of pot plants increased a little more than that of cut flowers (3.6%). “This is a great achievement for the exporters”, says VGB director Matthijs Mesken. The new record is mostly thanks to the increasing exports to Eastern European countries, as well as the ongoing expansion of the distribution market. Exporters are counting on more growth in the coming year, reported VGB.
Last December saw the strongest monthly increase since 2013; with 10.3% more exports, the total monthly value reached € 472 million. “In the entire list of top 30 export countries for cut flowers and pot plants, there were only two minuses in the month of December”, says Floridata manager Wesley van den Berg.
With 10.9% growth and a total value of € 312 million, cut flowers showed a larger increase than pot and bedding plants, which recorded 9.2% growth, reaching a total value of € 160 million. The mild winter weather, as well as an extra trading day, contributed to this positive result.
Poland took Belgium’s place in top 5
The year 2019 wasn’t off to a flying start, though. The exports to both Germany and Italy were disappointing, but they got back on track later in the year. Even though Germany recorded a 0.6% decrease, reaching a total value of € 1.67 billion, they indisputably remain the number-one export country. Italy ended in fourth place. With a 0.7% decrease, the export value to this country came to € 301 million last year.
“Most of the growth took place in the second half of the year and came from Poland”, added Wesley van den Berg. “In fact, Poland is now one of the top 5 export countries. They pushed Belgium down to number 6”, continued Matthijs Mesken. Sales to Eastern European countries in general has been increasing. Exports to Russia for example, have also gone up. This country is now listed as the 7th largest export country.
Despite all the uncertainty around Brexit in 2019, the export value to the United Kingdom increased by 3.5%, reaching a total value of € 855 million. The share of the changing top 5 countries in the total export value went down by 2% in 2019, which confirmed the earlier noted trend of further expansion of the distribution market.
Positive outlook for 2020
Mesken is looking forward to 2020, with feelings of optimism and curiosity. “On one hand, there are enormous opportunities for the Dutch floricultural sector in the field of accelerated digitalisation and sustainability. On the other hand, there are concerns about stricter phytosanitary requirements and a larger administrative burden due to the new legislation regarding the plant passport for example.” Van den Berg added: “Trade conflicts are also playing a role, and we can see the effect of those in our monthly statistical reports.”
It is expected that Brexit won’t have much impact on sales to the United Kingdom in 2020. But what the trade relationship with the UK will look like in 2021 is still uncertain. “Exporters did really well in 2019. All in all, we’re counting on a little more growth in 2020”, said VGB’s Mesken.