The ornamental sector (cut flowers and ornamental plants, trees and bulbs) is undoubtedly the agriculture sector impacted the most by the exceptional crisis derived from COVID-19, suffering since mid-March a dramatic and direct collapse of demand and consumption in most EU Member States and at international level with the large-range closure of all shops, drop out of sales channels and distribution disruption. The ‘domino’ effect that has ensued in the past 2 weeks on the overall supply-chain is bringing the whole sector to the brink of a total collapse across the EU and beyond, with immense ramifications in terms of bankruptcy of businesses and related employment across the supply-chain (production, wholesale, trade, distribution channels and retail shops). This crisis could not have come at a worst time of the year as Spring (March to May) is the period when most of the turnover is being realised within the sector. These highly perishable and seasonal products rely on a natural plant cycle that cannot be interrupted during the ongoing crisis; this is now triggering the inevitable destruction of production and stocks to a massive scale across the EU and beyond.
We herewith call on the European Commission and all EU Member States to give a special attention to this sector and help identify and activate support mechanisms to:
The viability and survival of the complete ornamental sector in the EU and beyond, and all related jobs and businesses, is now at stake. This sector has never benefited from any kind of support from the CAP and has always functioned as a purely market-driven sector under the most competitive terms. Its socio-economic contribution in the EU and at international level is immense. Ornamental products also positively contribute to the quality of life and a healthy lifestyle for EU citizens, including mental health, and to the social coherence across generations. Their immense potential in being part of the solution for the overall EU Green Deal ambitions by greening cities and offsetting the effects of climate change at various levels are outstanding and should not be ignored by the European Commission and all EU Member States.
Key figures about the ornamental sector in the EU:
|Production||Trade & Wholesale||Retail||TOTAL|
|Turnover||18 bn €||30 bn €||48 bn €||48 bn €|
Inputs collected across Europe in close cooperation between Union Fleurs (International Flower Trade Association), VBN (the Association of Dutch Flower Auctions) and the Working party Flowers & Plants of COPA-COGECA