‘Hold on, we can get through’

What a difference a few weeks can make!  It wasn’t long ago and we were looking forward to year of business as usual.  Crops were growing well and orders were positive. Then, in a matter of days it all began to fall apart as growers went from planning the despatch of crops to deciding what to do with them now the customers have disappeared.

And, the customers have literally disappeared!  Shops have closed around the world and empty streets have become the symbol of a world focused on fighting the new Corona virus pandemic.  And fight it we must.  We can look in despair at unsold stock but in the end there is no argument, there is no alternative.  Our actions now must be aimed at the good of others, at protecting the vulnerable from this life-threatening disease and so the industry has acted and so much of it has shut down completely in many parts of the world.

Businesses of all kinds, and especially horticultural businesses with unwanted perishable product, will not survive a crash in sales like this.  At least not without government help.  Thankfully many governments are helping but growers in every country will need to lobby hard to ensure those making the decisions really understand the severity of the losses faced by a sector like this.

It is hard to see what we can do without encouraging people to break ‘stay at home’ rules which of course we don’t want to do. In AIPH we have developed factsheets that remind people about the scientifically proven benefits of having plants and flowers in the home and of gardening outside too.  So important for the millions of households now confined to their homes. We need to keep reminding governments and consumers.

It’s hard to look to the future right now but I remain optimistic.  Our industry produces something so important for the future of people and of the planet.  We will get through this; we will get strong again and we will be ready to supply the world with plants and flowers that I believe they will appreciate more than ever before.

Bernard Oosterom,

AIPH President

Click here to read more blogs from Bernard.

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