‘We have destroyed more flowers than ever before’

In less than four months, our society has completely changed. In my previous blog, I mentioned the scarcity around Valentine’s Day. And today, we’re facing all sorts of restrictions. During the past week, we’ve destroyed more flowers than ever before in Timaflor’s existence. Even at the time of the volcanic eruption, when all flights were cancelled due to ash clouds, we only destroyed a tiny fraction of what we’re destroying now.

All our flowers were thrown away last week. By now, our warehouses are left deserted, we’re no longer bunching any flowers. We’re cutting our roses as normal and bring them straight to the dump. At least our sheep like them; they’re nice and juicy, much better than dry grass.

I’m reminded of the days when we were only allowed to export between 15 October and 15 May. During the summer months, the European markets closed their doors for us. We’d prune all our roses and take a long holiday. We made enough money during the rest of the year anyway. For Dutch growers, the situation was the exact reverse; their production came to a halt in winter. There were no growing lights, the greenhouse was cold in winter, nobody had to worry about gas bills. We’ve made it all pretty complicated over the years.

You’ve got to admit, it’s quite amazing how a virus can spread across the entire world in four months’ time. Nobody ever thought anything like this could happen. Otherwise, we would have dealt with it differently. We’ll just have to make the best of it now. All Western countries are distributing billions to keep their economies running. Where the money’s all going to come from, nobody knows. Nobody even knows when life will get back to normal.

Personally, we’re not expecting any miracles. Perhaps we’ll try and supply some small quantities for the Mother’s Days in May and June. Things work very differently for a farm in Kenya than for a rose nursery in the Netherlands of course. For us, a rose only starts becoming expensive when it’s put in a box. The disadvantage in Kenya, however, is that we don’t have a government handing out billions of euros.

It means that our basic costs are lower, but we’re not getting any help. All in all, I expect that many companies will go down. If this is going to last until next Valentine’s Day, we’ll need a lot of staying power.

Simon van der Burg,

Simon is rose grower in Kenya,

Click here to read more blogs from Simon.


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