“Get a job outside the horticultural industry, the sector is nearing its end.” I vividly remember my uncle saying this to me. He thought that with these words of wisdom, he’d be able to convince me to embark on a career that steered clear of anything to do with horticulture. But luckily, I didn’t give up that easily.
Even when I was a child, there was nothing I’d rather do than help my dad at the nursery. As a young boy, I spent hours in the warehouse, sorting cucumbers and tomatoes. And when I was a bit older, I’d go over to our neighbour every Sunday, to help with the rose cutting. Saturdays were reserved for football matches.
Of course, I had my doubts. There was no longer a family business to take over, so what was I going to do? After my studies in Wageningen, I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to do something with a strong practical element. When I received an unexpected job offer from a farm in Kenya, I didn’t have to think long.
‘The world is only small these days’
What initially started out as one year abroad, became an adventure that’s been lasting for nearly seven years now. From Batian Flowers, I soon moved on to Timaflor. Their working methods, the way they treat employees, their commitment towards the local environment and the opportunities they offer for professional development make Timaflor a highly attractive employer.
My own work experience with Timaflor has certainly been characterised by rapid progression. Initially, I was responsible for around 20 hectares of flowers. This expanded quickly over the years and by now, I’m responsible for the entire farm. It might be a cliché, but I do believe that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
And that’s why I feel that the only way to end my first column is with an appeal to the next generation of horticulturists’ sons (and daughters!). Look beyond the Netherlands, the world is only small these days. There are amazing challenges in so many places if you’re open to them. The international horticultural industry is flourishing, and it can always do with some more Dutch down-to-earthiness!
General manager Timaflor