Japanese flowers try to conquer Europe

At IFTF in Vijfhuizen, Japanese export organisations are trying to increase their sales in Europe with their own assortment, which includes lathyrus, ranunculus, gentiana, gloriosa and lisianthus.

One of the attending Japanese companies is the Bloom Japan Network. This sales organisation, which is visiting IFTF for the first time, has been selling gentiana, lathyrus, ranunculus, gloriosa, oxypetalem and scabiosa from Japanese nurseries to European countries for a year now. They hardly sold anything the previous years, because the prices were too low. This year is better, says Yutaka Shirakawa.

Asia remains Bloom Japan’s biggest market, but Shirakawa indicates that the market for Japanese flowers is growing in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. At IFTF, Bloom Japan is exhibiting 120 varieties of 20 different flowers.

Shirakawa says that the types of flowers that are sold the most in Europe are gloriosa, lathyrus, ranunculus, gentiana and lisianthus. The Netherlands is the gateway to Europe for Japanese flowers according to Yutaka Shirakawa.

The Japan Flowers and Plants Export Association exports flowers as well as plants (including bonsai) to Europe. “Gloriosa is very important for our export to Europe,” says Kouji Ishiguro of Flower Auction Japan, which is part of this export organisation, supported by the Japanese Government.

Japan Flowers and Plants Association also considers the Netherlands as a gateway. The organisation has an agent in the Netherlands, who sells the Japanese flowers in other European countries as well. “In 2016, the export to Europe has increased compared to the two previous years”, says Ishiguro.

Gloriosa, exhibited at IFTF in various colours and with long, thick stems, is the most important product at the moment. According to Ishiguro, gloriosa is a good introduction to the European market for the Japanese products. “It positions us well”.

Green trick
Breeder Miyoshi is also exhibiting at Vijfhuizen. The company cultivates brassica, green trick, matthiola, lisianthus, delphinium and more. Director Seiichi Miyoshi points out that the flower industry in Japan is declining. The floricultural industry is ageing; many growers don’t have anyone who can take over.

This means that the Japanese market is decreasing for Miyoshi. “Japan is our biggest market and we would like to expand there, but it’s hard.” Miyoshi’s main customers outside Japan are the big flower producing countries like Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya, Israel and the Netherlands.

Gloriosa from Japan, in this case a white variety.