I hope we can deepen the ties with our growers in Africa

The amazing appeal of flowers was highlighted yet again during the Easter weekend. People were urged not to come to Keukenhof as both the park and the parking lots were completely full. I know this was true, because I was one of the cyclists enjoying the beautiful flower fields in the area. Our own visitor service sometimes welcomes up to 2,500 tourists from the Netherlands and abroad per day this time of year.

Last week saw the beginning of the construction works of FloriWorld, the floriculture experience centre that is built in Aalsmeer. It’s great to know that FloriWorld will be able to show the versatility of the floricultural sector in all its facets. I hope it will attract consumers as well as politicians. It seems like there is still some lack of awareness regarding the sector’s economic importance.

The proposal to stop night flights at Schiphol could have a major negative impact on our sector. Twenty percent of our supply arrives by plane. Most of it during the night. That’s three quarters of all our imports. The importance of plant and flower exports did receive a lot of attention in the context of Brexit. Time and again, the floriculture sector was mentioned as an example. We want to strengthen the prominent role that the Netherlands has as global hub for the floriculture sector. It means increasing both imports and exports.

In the beginning of June, I will travel to Kenya to open the International Flower Trade Expo, IFTEX. It was an honour to receive the invitation. I hope it will be an opportunity to deepen the ties with our growers and relations in Africa. We will also present Floriday in combination with Blueroots at IFTEX. An important moment, with an eye to the international roll-out of the programme.

After all, Floriday will be the basis of our global digital eco system. I am looking forward to the responses from visitors at the fair. A Floriday connection provides growers all over the world with the possibility to capitalise on export opportunities. I hope I’ll be able to convince my contacts in Africa of this attractive perspective.

Steven van Schilfgaarde,

CEO Royal FloraHolland

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