Fabiano and Alexandro de Bruin: ’We wanted to work with our family’

Years ago their mother Riet started growing plants in the backyard. Now Fabiano and Alexandro de Bruin are taking over their parents company Quali Flora. They grow green plants on 3ha. ”If we want to expand in a different location, the first thing we’ll do, is construct a large irrigation pond!”

Why did you choose the horticultural industry?

Fabiano: “From the day this company started, in 1997, I’ve always been around. I always tried to understand the developments and wondered whether there were any opportunities for me to join the business. For a long time, the company was too small. I studied electronic engineering and worked in that field for seven years. I started working at the nursery two years ago. I really like it. My tasks include sales, logistics, transportation, propagation of young plants and harvesting.”

And Alexandro?

Alexandro: “I used to work as a cashier at a bank, but I wanted to work with my family. I started in 2007 and my responsibilities include irrigation, production, fertilisation and sales. The plan is for my mum and dad to take it a bit easier. They’ve always worked hard. They should enjoy life and do lots of travelling now. Actually, it was my mother, Riet, who started growing plants on a 400-m2 plot in her backyard. She saw a business opportunity. Her mother used to do lots of gardening back home in the Netherlands. My mother came to Brazil with her parents from Terheijden near Breda, when she was six years old. My father, Geraldo, was born here. His parents arrived in 1949.

How’s the business doing?

“Flowering pot plants are more popular in Brazil, but green plants are also doing well. The problem with flowering plants is that as soon as they’re in bloom, they’ve got to leave the nursery. We don’t have that pressure, which makes things a bit easier. On the other hand, the market is a bit tougher. The first months of this year weren’t as good as we’d expected, but they weren’t bad either. The past two years were very good.”

Is there a great variation in altitude at your nursery?

“Yes, the difference between the highest and the lowest point of our nursery is 40 metres. We had to spend a lot of money on levelling the ground. Because of the height differences, and the fact that our site includes an inhabited house, only half of the 6 ha is cultivated. The greenhouses were built at different times and at different altitudes.”

No heating? Growth is determined by the weather?

“We did have greenhouse heating in the past. We were growing other crops at that time. Nowadays, we can open the sides of the greenhouses when it gets too hot. In winter, the plants grow a bit more slowly. But the cost of heating is too high compared to the extra revenue it would provide. Growing in a tropical environment comes with many challenges. Such as spider mite. And the large temperature differences. It gets very hot in summer, but cold in winter. But the biggest problem is water. If we want to expand in a different location, the first thing we’ll do, is construct a large irrigation pond!”

Fabiano and Alexandro de Bruin

Company: Quali Flora

Crop: croton, asplenium, ficus, platycerium

Acreage: 3 ha

Place: Holambra, Brazil


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