Ornamental horticulture emergency fund scheme offers companies perspective08 May 2020
The details of the horticultural emergency fund have been released. The first 30 percent of the loss of turnover in the period 12th March to 11th June is at the own risk of the affected companies. Of the remaining 70 percent of the loss of turnover, 70 percent will be compensated with a maximum amount related to the annual turnover of the company, with deduction of previously received emergency aid. The Emergency Fund only covers part of the damage. The financial consequences are still considerable. This scheme will hopefully enable many entrepreneurs to continue their business.
In a video message Steven van Schilfgaarde (CEO Royal FloraHolland) acknowledges that: "The Emergency Fund is there to help us, the floriculture sector, through the first three months of the crisis. The Cabinet's general support package, the banks' increased lending and the emergency fund offer most growers the opportunity to get through this crisis, with a significant part of the damage being compensated by the government. It ensures that many of our Dutch growers and trading companies can continue their beautiful businesses".
The implementation of the scheme is led by Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO). From 7th May it is possible to submit an application. RVO has indicated that they will soon pay 50% of the amount of the application. The Cabinet has decided to set a ceiling for the maximum amount of damages to be paid. That ceiling has been set at EUR 1 million. For large companies with a lot of damage this will be a setback.
Royal FloraHolland is doing everything within its power to help the sector through the crisis. For example, discussions are being held with the banks about providing ample credit to healthy companies. In the short term, members will be paid the "annual layer" 2012 early, bringing forward the payout date for all members (national and international) who have built up capital in 2012.
Royal FloraHolland is in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation about support to affected international growers. The Dutch government is working on an 'International Trade' action plan that explicitly includes ornamental plant cultivation in it. Royal FloraHolland has requested that specific funds be made available for Kenya and Ethiopia.
Steven van Schilfgaarde states that "We all face the great challenge of recouping the losses and the extra credits that have been taken out after the crisis. And the end of the crisis is not yet in sight. The coming period calls for enormous commitment, guts, entrepreneurship and solidarity. We have shown in the past that we are good at this as a sector. Even in these difficult times, let's stand side by side and help each other as much as possible. By continuing to pull together, we can best get through this".