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Virtualisation in the flower trade: remote buying

A strong development in the European flower business is the increasing importance of virtualisation. Virtualisation plays a major role in the reduction of transaction costs. Until a few years ago, the development of virtual flower trade was hampered by the perceived importance of visual appearance to determine product quality. Improvements in the provision of accurate supply information and reliability, however, have made virtualisation a major success. Continue reading

Fruit of knowledge

When it comes to food, the EU considers safety a top priority. The slogan ‘From farm to fork’ describes how the whole supply chain is responsible for guaranteeing food safety. For the first link in the food chain, the growers of food products, this concept mainly translates into quality demands and efforts aimed at keeping contaminants and pesticide residues at acceptable levels. In addition to complying with the legal requirements, many companies have joined independent sustainability initiatives or set up their own, stricter environmental and social standards. All of these requirements and preferences together are usually referred to as ‘buyer requirements’ or ‘market access requirements’. Here’s an overview.
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Looking for a reliable flower supplier in a developing country?

Avoid risks and save time and costs by using CBI’s company database. All companies were audited by CBI’s European experts and extensively coached for doing business in Europe. Use the online search facility to look for partners in the countries of your interest.

Feel free to contact ProVerde for assistance in case you are not able to find the supplier you are looking.

Market study “Export opportunities for the Surinam flower sector”

Ornamental Bixa branches in SurinamThe main objective of the market study was to identify those tropical ornamentals that offer good export opportunities in the European markets and which can be produced under Surinam conditions. The study covered particularly the markets for tropical flowers, plants, foliage and young plant material (cuttings).

As part of the project, five product brochures have been written describing cultivation techniques under tropical conditions for selected products: palms, Anthurium foliage, Bromeliads, Dracaena cuttings, and ornamental grasses.

The project was carried out within the framework of the national Agricultural Sector Plan (ASP) and on behalf of the Surinam Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fishery.

New series of Master Classes “Flower Export” in Ethiopia

As a key activity of CBI’s 2009 floricultural training activities in Ethiopia, ProVerde is currently preparing a series of Horticulture Master Classes. The training series is developed in close cooperation with the Ethiopian Horticultural Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA) and will focus on flower export marketing.

In the course of training series, participants will write a concise export marketing plan. The structure of the export marketing plan will be used as the framework for the special topics covered in the trainings: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), post-harvest and logistical requirements, market research in the flower business, getting the best price on the auction, and internal and external communication.

The four Master Class trainings are scheduled for early May, mid June, mid September and early December of this year. CBI trainers will include Milco Rikken (ProVerde), Dana van Hes (E4 Consulting), Jeroen van der Hulst (Flowerwatch), Maarten van Schie (OTV Wageningen) and Maarten van Woerden (Helicon).

Why keep records and calculate a cost price?

Young, newly started companies usually are production oriented; do have no management information and no or little market information. During the development process of companies into a mature stage, the focus is directed more and more towards the market.
In the first, production oriented stage, knowing cost prices doesn’t have priority and even is hardly possible. In the market oriented stage of a company, knowing the cost price is a prerequisite to survive! In this stage you need to have records and insight in the performance and results of all departments, insight in the market and its trends, insight in your competitors, etc.

Calculating and actually knowing your cost price:
• gives you insight in your (labor) productivity;
• informs you WHAT to improve in your organisation;
• will prepare you better in negotiations;
• gives you better inputs in your strategy decisions;
• increases your competitiveness (as an individual company and as a group or association);
• will bring you profit more easily.

Fair trade flowers at Valentine Growers in Kenya

Paul Mwaniki and Milco Rikken at Valentine GrowersSubsequent to the training in Ethiopia, we continued to Kenya and Tanzania to meet and discuss new training activities with the local trade associations (Kenya Flower Council and TAHA). In Kenya, I still had some time to pay a short visit to Valentine Growers, one of the farms that regularly participated in the previous training programmes.

It was good to see that Valentine Growers is doing well. Direct trade is developing strongly thanks to their attention to sustainable rose production and their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

Valentine Growers Co. Ltd is a flower farm located in Kiambu District approximately 15km from the city of Nairobi, Kenya. The farm started in 1996 and has since expanded to two sites with a total acreage of 27 hectares. The total annual production stands at 55 million stems per year. The main destinations for the roses are Holland, Germany, UK, France, Switzerland and Scandinavian Countries. Other regions include USA, Middle East, & the Far East.

In the cold store, we used the opportunity to take a few photos with the Fairtrade flowers that were ready to be shipped to the European supermarkets.

Promotion of exports of tropical flowers and foliage in Colombia

The production of tropical flowers (mainly Heliconias, Gingers, Strelitzias and Calatheas) and foliage is increasing strongly in Colombia. Most farms have planted or are in the course of expanding their cultivated area. As a result, the supply of tropical flowers has increased strongly over the past few years. Continue reading

Hortitube: horticultural video’s

HortitubeI just dropped by this Hortitube-website: It’s a Dutch website with video’s related to the horticultural sector. I guess they are still building their stock of video’s because the lion’s share of the clips are promotional clips. Check out for instance the “Internationaal” section with a video about OZ-import‘s King Quality.
Video’s that are uploaded are automatically put on Youtube by the way. So, why bother to put it on Hortitube first? Nevertheless, maybe you find some interesting stuff.

Article “The other greenhouse effect”

Potted tropical plants are spreading throughout Europe, boosting developing country exports. Perhaps it is an undiscovered side effect of global warming, but tropical plants are rapidly gaining popularity in Europe. Palms, dracaenas, yuccas and other tropical species can be found in almost every European living room, office and hotel. One contributor to this trend has been the CBI´s export development programme for Young Pot Plant Material in Central America.

You can download the full article from the CBI website: The other greenhouse effect.