New markets in our members' interests
“Turkey is a market undergoing development: it's progressing by leaps and bounds. To accelerate this development, a wide assortment is required. It is good that Royal FloraHolland is taking the lead on behalf of business in the Netherlands,” said Coen Verspeek from Wooning Orchids about the study trip that Royal FloraHolland organised from 20 through 24 November 2017. Here's the report.
Louis Bakker from Mondo Verde agreed with Coen. "It is in the members' interests that Royal FloraHolland develops new markets and is the first one there. If Royal FloraHolland did not do this, someone else would. In addition, the West European market is getting full: expanding the market is good for everyone."
Together with Coen and Louis, five other member-growers went on the study trip. Under the guidance of the Turkey/Eurasia development team, the group visited a number of Turkish production regions and the Turkish sales market in the form of different retail chains, wholesalers, florists and e-tailers. The programme also included visits to the trade fair and an invitation to the Royal FloraHolland business relations event. Louis added, "The study trip was well organised. We viewed the full breadth of the Turkish horticultural chain. Personally, I was primarily interested in the Turkish production."
Opportunities for collaboration
Mondo Verde imports and grows Ficus Giseng, among other plants. To extend the sales season, the company from Rijsenhout is exploring possibilities for production in other countries, like Turkey. In terms of climate, Turkey would be an excellent candidate, but is that true about the existing companies? Louis stated, "I can only confirm that the nurseries we visited were working in a very professional manner with the possibilities on hand. They definitely have the will and ambition, as well as a certain level of mechanisation and automation. We shall be continuing talks about possible collaboration with the growers I met there. That will not happen overnight, but there are certainly opportunities available."
During the study trip, Coen was primarily interested in the Turkish sales market. As a producer of a product in the introductory phase, Dendrobium Nobile, better known as the Bamboo Orchid, Wooning Orchids is looking for promotion and sales possibilities. Their interest in Turkey was aroused by the efforts Royal FloraHolland was making there to break open the market. Coen explained, "Turkey is presented as a growth market, and I wanted to see with my own eyes what that market looks like." Coen's experiences were positive. "Developments are occurring very fast. The level of cultivation is improving, and the marketing parties, from wholesale to retail, want to progress." He was not surprised by the variety of different sales channels. "Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city, I had expected to find all levels of society catered for: from the simple market stall to retail and top florists. I really enjoyed visiting the huge, high-end shopping centres. But I was less impressed by the top florist located there. I am sure that from such a location far more could be achieved with a wider assortment. All of the people I spoke to agreed and were very interested in our product and in other products from the Netherlands."
Royal FloraHolland works for business in the Netherlands
The contacts Coen made will be followed up in the Netherlands together with an exporter. Coen affirmed, "It is sensible establishing contacts ourselves to promote our product, but we shall leave the exporting to exporters. Will we actually sell something there? Only time will tell. The growth possibilities in Turkey are huge, but for our relatively new product, there are also options closer to home. The Turkish import levies for flowers and plants still form a barrier. I think it's great that Royal FloraHolland is working to get the levies reduced."
Royal FloraHolland is taking concrete steps forward in that respect by working together with Turkish interest groups consisting of growers and dealers and aligning with Turkey's ambitions: the country wants to be the logistics hub for the transport of fresh products to Eurasia and is currently building a giant airport for this purpose. Louis confirmed, "That is really going to happen. It is in the interests of its members that Royal FloraHolland is exerting efforts to bind that growth market to our platform. Not by becoming the owner of the product, but by facilitating it. For example, helping local retailers to professionalise by supplying knowledge and advice. If Royal FloraHolland does not do this, someone else will. And then the business community in the Netherlands would miss the boat. I say, work that market!"