There has been a lot to do about some of the things that Royal FloraHolland’s Lucas Vos said in the news recently. I’m referring to statements that suggested there are too many traders and that those traders aren’t innovative enough with regards to their consumer approach.
Questioning the existence of a large number of trading companies and accusing them of a lack of innovation, is in our opinion totally against the ambition of working together and trying to improve things in the floricultural industry day by day. With its recent communications, Royal FloraHolland seemed to suggest that we, trading companies, are failing to take a look in the mirror and aren’t proactive enough.
This is absolutely not the case though and these statements don’t do justice to all the joint efforts made by growers, traders and international customers. And they don’t do justice to the substantial financial contributions made by us, traders and growers, to sustain the Royal FloraHolland marketplace and its underlying infrastructure.
These recent reportings seem to deflect attention away from the real challenges that the sector is facing these days. And Royal FloraHolland’s future role and position are part of this.
Therefore, I’d like to ask Royal FloraHolland to take a look in the mirror before accusing the sector of all sorts of things. FloraHolland’s annual report of 2016 shows for example that € 22 million was spent on ‘strategy 2020’ and € 11 million on reorganisation costs. A total amount of €33 million, raised by traders and growers.
A justified question is then, what the sector gets in return for this. Unfortunately, the answer is highly unsatisfactory: no optimal logistic performance, no investments towards new trolleys for the high season, all resulting in unnecessary, extra costs for the trade. This is diametrically opposed to one of FloraHolland’s concrete commitments, promising traders and growers a € 100 million cost reduction for 2020.
Admittedly, it isn’t 2020 yet, but nothing seems to indicate we’re heading in that direction. In the meantime, Royal FloraHolland is investing large sums of money in all sorts of projects (China, Turkey, Let it Grow), but nobody knows what exactly the organisation’s role will be in the future.
Therefore, we feel it’s inappropriate for Royal FloraHolland to speak so negatively about its customers and to make the point that ‘we’ don’t move fast enough along in the changing world. Nothing is further from the truth. We do feel the urgency, and in fact, we really pay attention to changing consumers’ preferences and behaviour. We work closely together with our growers and our customers, in order to respond to these market dynamics in the best possible way.
So hereby, I’d like to call on Royal FloraHolland and ask them to take a good look in the mirror. I’d like to ask them to make good on the promises they made to traders and growers and to start being more transparent about what kind of market position they see for themselves in the near future. In the interest of both the Netherlands as a floricultural country and our shared future: let’s stay focused on the power of collaborating.
Marco van Zijverden,