FloraHolland Magazine number 11, page 10-11, 2012
The regional meetings, an impression
This month there were regional
meetings in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Kenya and
Ethiopia. Previously, these meetings were organised by the regional
boards. Now the board takes care of this.
Regional meetings are traditionally opportunities for proper, fundamental discussions about auction matters. The discussions this time were again worthwhile. We attended them in East-Netherlands and Westland-East.
During the meetings a board member talked about the proposed merger of the board and supervisory board. A management member catalogued the state of affairs in the company, the budget, the charges, the rights and obligations of members, and the product-specific promotion. All these topics have been highlighted elsewhere in this magazine. We restrict ourselves here to a summary of the discussions we heard.
Is the merger of board and supervisory board a step towards abandoning the cooperative structure?
'Absolutely not' was the answer. FloraHolland remains a primary cooperative, strongly linked to its members with the aim to organise a powerful trade platform. The core of what FloraHolland does has not changed in a hundred years. No other structure is needed for what FloraHolland wants to do.
Will the auction buildings soon be half-empty?
Auction buildings must be large enough to process the delivery
and the busyness of peak days. At off-peak moments there is space
left over. There are vacancies in the auction buildings. Part of
this is normal because companies are always shrinking and growing.
In Aalsmeer there is temporarily more vacant space because
Waterdrinker has moved to a new building.
Aalsmeer is investing in the clock distribution of flowers. The distribution of plants is also being taken on. Sometimes it can be acceptable to use some more space. Often you can then save on labour costs.
FloraHolland says it is not going to raise the charges. How is it that my bill goes up every year?
Last year the member's contribution was increased. That was
necessary because there are fewer members but the expenses made on
behalf of the members remained the same.
The packaging charges follow the rate of inflation. It is usual to increase them every few years for each packaging sort.
In 2013 the trolley charge will rise and the lot charge sink. This is cost-neutral for FloraHolland. For individual growers this can prove to be cheaper or more expensive. The purpose of this change is to create an income to cover the auction's costs.
An important measure of what the auction costs its members is the break-even commission. This has been going down in the past few years and currently lies under four percent.
Are we doing enough on promotion as a sector?
The Flower Council Holland budget has shrunk in the past few years from €24 million to €14 million. This was actually a decision of the Horticultural Product Board. Currently, the financing is being supported by the production and trade and collected by FloraHolland. Therefore, members can propose to raise this budget in the FPCs, RACs and advisory councils. In addition, there is a proposal to create more opportunities for product-specific promotion.
If we don't get on with it soon, there will be a tangle of new IT marketing systems confronting each grower.
FloraHolland is aware of this and working on the problem, for example with Plantform. The IT efforts directed at PlantConnect.nl will be redoubled. FloraHolland wants to set the standard and offer the grower efficient access to the best electronic marketing possibilities.