‘We will be facing the challenges ahead with our heads up high!’

A Sunday morning at my parents’ house follows a regular pattern. A boiled egg, freshly baked rolls and a nice glass of orange juice for breakfast. Classical music in the background as I am typing this column, followed soon by a brisk walk in the forest, I’m sure. People thrive on routine and regularity. And what a great way to unwind after a busy week at the exchange.

Gas prices in the Netherlands, air freight capacity in Kenya and unrest in Ethiopia have been the talk of the town. The flower sector has had a fantastic year, but hardly anyone talks about it. Everyone is looking to the future, which makes sense given how uncertain it looks for most.

Some people develop ‘long Covid’ after contracting the coronavirus, leading to several complaints that last for months. Likewise, the world economy is suffering from a serious case of long Covid. The long-term effects of which are beginning to show after two years. Shortages, long lead times and increased costs for just about everything. Throw in a trade war between Australia and China, and you have your perfect storm.

In Kenya, growers are particularly worried about the impending fertiliser shortages. Its main supplier is China, which is cutting production due to an energy shortage that is in part attributable to a lack of Australian coal supplies. Even if you are not using Chinese fertiliser, there has been such a run on products in general that there are now shortages of everything, even toilet paper.

The mere idea of future scarcity leads to massive hoarding, so it becomes every man for himself. Thus artificial shortages emerge in a situation that may, in itself, not be nearly as dire as feared.

Natural gas, fertiliser or air freight are all subject to the market, to the laws of supply and demand, to the amounts people are willing to pay for them. As long as the final product is profitable, however, we can all stay in business. Our sector has proven its ability to flourish, particularly in hard times. So we will be facing the challenges ahead with our heads up high!

Thomas Fransen,

General manager Timaflor, Kenya

Click here for more blogs from Thomas.

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