"Ornamental growers worldwide envy our Dutch trade system. What we have managed to achieve through great collaboration is astounding. We should be very proud of that and treat it with care."

"I find it quite disconcerting therefore that currently we are drifting apart. We should not let that happen.

I am sure you understand that I am referring to the recent discussion surrounding Floriday. That discussion is driven by a number of dissatisfied growers and a software supplier, among others. Some growers even threatened to switch to this new provider, which in itself doesn't really make sense. After all, the switch will result in double commission fees; one to the cooperative and another to Ai2. So you're not doing yourself any favours here. As it is, they must deal with higher costs when the turnover is not channelled via Royal FloraHolland. And nobody says anything about all this in the Floriday discussion, so we only hear half the story every time.

What I consider even more concerning is that it undermines the cooperative. Our strength lies in numbers, in these times as well. The cooperative concept is deeply embedded in my genes. It transfers from father to son. My son and daughter, the managers of our plant nursery - Hofland Flowering Plants - in Naaldwijk, also attach great value to the cooperative. Not because I force them to, but because they can see for themselves that the power of collaboration cannot be denied."

At the same time I see many other (young) entrepreneurs who are not that invested in the cooperative way of thinking. Who don't pay the NAT fee, for example, putting colleague growers at a disadvantage. I find that a shame. Understand me well; I will gladly give the young all the space they need. There is a reason why the word "retired" is shown under my name on our website. If it said "director", I would be hindering my son and daughter and I don't want that.

I do hope, however, that our colleagues are aware of us being driven apart. Differences are given more attention than they deserve. And that's a downright shame. Now is the time for making a stand and making a case for the cooperative. We must not undermine the cooperative. To the contrary, we must support each other.

Hence this call to all my colleague growers; commit yourself to the cooperative. Together we can stand firm. And should you disagree with certain matters within the cooperative, share your concerns by talking to one another. I understand that due to corona we see each other less often, making it harder to get in touch with each other. And yet, make it known through the Members' Council, for example. The growers in the Members' Council are not there to safeguard their own interests; they are committed to helping all growers, including you.

As I have written earlier; strength in numbers. We should not allow ourselves to be driven apart. We own Floriday together! The implementation of a new platform obviously cannot be concluded within a day; it takes time and effort. It will, however, make us substantially stronger compared to letting our sales be handled by an external party. For comparison: How much control do companies have who sell their products via Amazon.com? Exactly! None whatsoever.

For Dutch floriculture to be united is a great thing. Fragmentation - as once happened in the sale of vegetables - is of no good to any grower. The only ones who benefit from this unrest are private software providers (such as Ai2) and maybe the occasional exporter with Greenery ideas. Floriculture and its growers will definitely not, I'm afraid. For this reason; growers, watch over your business and keep it together!"

Goos Hofland (62), Hofland Flowering Plants, Naaldwijk

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