We are stronger together than each alone, says Members’ Council member Marcel van der Lugt. The cooperative was once created from that idea. If we set things up smartly, everyone will benefit, was the thought. "And we succeeded very well. Even now, over 100 years later."

Times have changed a lot in that century. But at least one thing remained the same. The cooperative belongs to us, the members. And the cooperative is there for us too. Although that is not always perceived that way.

Right now, we are at a fork in the road. Royal FloraHolland's membership base is becoming increasingly diverse. We bring together very small and very large growers, (inter)national growers, flower and plant growers and many more. And on the other hand, there is the platform Floriday, which is now becoming increasingly important for our trade. These are developments that have a lot of impact on how we organise ourselves.

The value of the cooperative

I think that two things are important, in the coming year. We need to be even more vocal about the value of the cooperative. What are the positives, and how are we sustaining them? And also: what would it cost me if I suddenly had to organise the things the cooperative does myself?

Because make no mistake: by uniting we form an incredibly strong block. In the short term, you may be able to do without the cooperative. But in the longer term? Our negotiating position is strong. This is partly due to the things we do together. Among fruit and vegetable growers, we can see what happens when you let go of a block like that. Facing retail, they now have little prospect. We obviously want to avoid that kind of position for our wonderful industry.

Flexibility and transparency

In addition, we need to look at costs together. What are our rates? And is this in keeping with the current times? Perhaps different subscription types are a solution. If you opt for all services, you can go for large subscription. You may pay more, but you also receive full support. If you only want the basics, you can go for that. That means: lower costs, but also reduced service.

Transparency is central to this. Naturally, the cooperative delivers value. This is more evident in some areas than others. Everyone knows that payments are well regulated. But the fact that our competitiveness is also so good, thanks in part to the auction, is something we should reflect on more often. We have many benefits owing to the marketplace and our buildings. In short: we could be clearer about the balance between value and cost. Also, as I wrote in the previous paragraph, there has to be a choice. Do you want this package? Then you pay that. Are you using more or fewer services? Then you pay for that too.

Get involved and contribute your ideas

A year ago, I joined the Members' Council. Because I am passionate about our cooperative. Because I know we can achieve more together than we can alone. And because I have an opinion. I like using that energy for the greater good. And when you stumble upon something worthwhile, you have to invest time in it. I therefore appeal to other members: please get involved. Attend Member Sessions and other meetings. Get involved. Help us get a better picture. With a solid, new foundation, we may be able to move forward for another hundred years.

We regularly publish a column from the Members’ Council in which a member of the Members’ Council discusses what they’re working on, This time, it is Members’ Council member Marcel van der Lugt’s turn. Marcel is co-owner of nursery Lugt Lisianthus in Monster.

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