Union fleurs - International Flower Trade Association

Union Fleurs president Herman de Boon invited to the South African symposium on the flower sector

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Union fleurs - International Flower Trade Association

 

As part of the first Free State Flower Festival, on November 11 a mini symposium was held on the flower sector in South Africa.

Jac Duyf of the SA Flower Growers Association (SAFGA) said: “The flower trading business  is small in South Africa." His organisation currently has some 60 members of which 40 are exporters (directly to surrounding countries and worldwide).


Not so very long ago, there were approximately 100 members but this has
drastically reduced due to the fact that there were no agreements made on future inheritance. Besides that, investments needed to be made for the transition from open to covered plant production. The revenue of the trade is about 31 million dollars. Most growers are located in the Gauteng Province. With the flower trade fair money can be made at a company size from 5 ha. Internal trainings are done at their own companies. SA finds it difficult to cope with competition from for example Kenya: the hourly wage is higher and the climatic situation is not better.

For start-up firms the circumstances are rather difficult in view of the investment to be made. On the other hand, South Africa has the infrastructure, a fully developed economy and their own market (55 million citizens with a growing middle class). Flowers are sold on the local market, at wholesalers and retailers.  Internationally a lot goes through the auction (Multiflora) in Johannesburg.
 
Beside SAFGA there is CapeFlora SA with about 110  active members. They are mainly situated in the Western Cape and grow mainly Protheas, Leptinella and Protea. They do a lot of R&D and development of varieties, it is a growing industry. The export organisation SAFEC is often found at international fairs. Some growers have been quite successful. Take for example Willem Slootweg of Semperflora, who was nominated for a Dutch Flower Award. Also, Leandra Du Plessis who started a modern company (Capricorn) in the province Free State and found her way to Holland is such an example. The province Free State also stated  that they want to stimulate the flower industry in the context of employment and industries.
 
Herman de Boon presented an overview of the world trade measuring about 35 billion USD. The main part of the production takes place in Europe (34% for which the Netherlands takes care of the most of it). Other large producers are China, the U.S., Japan and Brazil. Kenya accounts for 2%. Distribution channels are divers, from local markets to import/export through auctions and wholesalers. The quality of the product depends on the growers, the hardware (the greenhouse) and the software (processes).  With the development of digital safety systems it will become more frequent that products go directly from the grower to the end user. For the development of the flower industry in SA it goes that SA cannot do it on its own, there need to be public-private partnerships. The question is if that development can take place in bulk (for the international market). We would have to look for niches, companies (Dutch) who want to go for adventure in SA and 1 on 1 relations with wholesalers and European (Dutch) importers.

 

Source: FloraDaily

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