21 hectares of kalanchoe concentrated within a 1-km radius

On the outskirts of Holambra is a neighbourhood called Alegre. Alegre means ‘happy’. Perhaps a little too optimistic for an area where people are still discussing whether asphalting the many dirt roads is really necessary.

On dry days, everything is covered in dust, and on rainy days, the roads get slippery and your car is covered in mud. Not really something that would make you happy, but from what I hear, the growers like it there. And I’ve got to admit: the views across the hilly surroundings are stunning.

There is something special about this neighbourhood: it counts no less than seven kalanchoe nurseries, all adjacent to each other. That’s more than 21 hectares of kalanchoe and more than 26 million plants in total. It could well be the largest acreage of kalanchoe in the world, all concentrated within a 1-km radius. A further increase is expected for the next couple of years.

January is very much a holiday month in Brazil. The coast is the most popular destination. The Brazilian beaches are beautiful. Plant and flower sales go down during this period. The demand will only really go up again after the Carnival. International Women’s Day on the 8th of March is the first peak day.

We’re introducing a new flower container this month. It’s similar to the ones used in the Netherlands. The reusable flower container with collar. You can find them anywhere in the world really. There’s something new about ours, though. We’ve attached uniquely numbered RFID tags to all our containers, trolleys and trolley shelves. This new container, as well as the collar, is equipped with an RFID tag on both sides! This has reduced the risk for errors when they are scanned at the entrance and exit gates to zero. You won’t find anything more modern than that.

Our conversations with customers about the integration of their web shops in our digital platform, have been very positive so far. Customers are enthusiastic and they see opportunities for online sales. We’re hoping that this will be the year we connect customers to the system. I am convinced that it will bring some revolutionary changes.

In my previous column, I wrote about our new president Jair Bolsonaro. His new government is off to a flying start. The first impressions are positive. Necessary changes are implemented and proposals for major reforms are discussed. The exchange rate is slowly improving. The confidence in investors is gradually increasing. That makes importing from the Netherlands more interesting and brings new export opportunities for Dutch companies. Yes, 2019 is going to be a good year!

André van Kruijssen,

General manager Veiling Holambra, Brazil

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