Bad price formation has been putting pressure on Flemish chrysanthemum growers for many years. Belgian Nurserymen and Growers Federation AVBS describes the sector’s health as ‘not dramatic but worrying’. By improving the image of the cemetery plant, the sector is hoping to regain some of the market share.
During last year’s harvest season, the Flemish news opened with a story about Belgium’s ailing chrysanthemum sector. After the introduction, which focused on the dump prices of 1.75 euro maintained by garden centres, they interviewed a chrysanthemum grower. He explained that sales prices had been the same for twenty years, while costs had been increasing all the time. The grower (Dirk Talpe) announced on TV that he was giving up his chrysanthemum cultivation.
The Belgian Nurserymen and Growers Federation (AVBS) confirms that chrysanthemum prices have been frozen for twenty years. However, the idea that growers are closing their companies en masse, is incorrect. Production may have been declining during the past ten years, but more recently, it has somewhat stabilised.
Willingness to increase prices
Seven years ago, there were still 137 chrysanthemum nurseries with a total acreage of 306 hectares. At the moment, it’s 135 companies and 275 hectares. “Compared to other sectors, you wouldn’t call this a dramatic evolution”, feels Pieter van Oost, secretary of AVBS. The growers’ federation calculated that the average cost price of a potted chrysanthemum lies around €1.50, which excludes transport to the buyer. “So, how can it be that the retailer sells that potted chrysanthemum for €1.75”, says Van Oost, who describes the state of the chrysanthemum sector as ‘perhaps not dramatic, but definitely worrying’.
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