Corona crisis: country updates29 May 2020
Royal FloraHolland keeps a close eye on developments related to the Coronavirus in order to keep our (member) suppliers, buyers, employees and visitors to our locations safe and healthy. In addition, we inform you about the consequences of the corona virus on the Dutch and international horticultural market. This has been supplemented with news from our own sources, colleagues of Royal FloraHolland.
Update Friday 29 May 2020
In this article you will find an update from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), who are involved in the crisis measures surrounding the Coronavirus and informs Royal FloraHolland about the impact of the virus on the export market.
Rabobank expects a contraction of 5 percent; on its website, Rabobank reports that higher unemployment and business closures are a fact of life in the horticultural sector in late 2020 and early 2021. It also expects demand for flowers and plants to fall. Rabobank expects an economic contraction of 5 percent for the Netherlands.
Rabobank indicates that the recession is now a fact. It predicts a global economic contraction of 2.6 percent by 2020. The demand for flowers and plants is related to disposable income. In the event of a sharp drop in income, a drop in ornamental plant consumption is to be expected. Some will no longer be able to buy, while those who still buy will buy a cheaper bouquet or plant. In April, Rabobank indicated that cut flower growers in particular will lose 70% of their turnover as a result of the corona crisis. (Source: De Bloemisterij, 25-05-2020)
Effects of the corona crisis on greenhouse construction will only become apparent later; the construction sector, as well as greenhouse construction, is currently not so much affected by the corona crisis. An inventory of the situation among greenhouse builders has not yet been made. "Consciously", says Annie van de Riet, chairman of branch organisation Avag. "Greenhouse builders are so-called late-cyclical companies. Ongoing projects are being phased out, but the application for new orders has been at a standstill for a number of weeks". Local for local is only getting more and more by the corona crisis, see greenhouse builders. "They realize the importance of their own stable year-round food production." (Source: De Bloemisterij, 22-5-2020)
Word of flowers' is a collective promotional campaign in France for Mother's Day; Mother's Day 2020, a major event in France for the flower sector, will take place on 7 June. In order to put flowers in the spotlight, VAL'HOR has intensified its collaboration with the media (print media, radio and TV shows). With more than 2 million households buying, Mother's Day is the 3rd most important calendar event of the year after All Saints Day and the holiday season. Last year, it accounted for 39% of French households' spending on indoor plants in May. (Source: VAL'HOR and FranceAgriMer, 28-05-2020)
Lesmeilleursfleuristes.com is a new internet platform for florists; 'let the adventure begin! With these words Antoine Navarro & Charlyne Faria announce the launch of a new internet platform for florists. A new player in a market that flourishes especially in this post Covid period. The platform wants to put local companies back at the centre of French habits. Lesmeilleursfleuristes.com stands for the independence of the florist and claims that the florist no longer has to pay fees to intermediaries. This should also make the price more attractive for their customers. The platform lesmeilleursfleuristes.com will be opened soon and has the following objectives:
- Specialized support for florists, from the creation of their own e-commerce site to the management of their social media.
- A fair price for customers, with no hidden commissions or costs.
- An environmentally friendly approach through the reforestation of our planet.
(Source: Jaf-Info, 25-05-2020)
Carrément Fleurs publishes market research; Carrément Fleurs, the florist's brand voted "best florist brand" by the Capital charts for the second consecutive year, shares the results of its market research among French consumers. At the end of 2018, Carrément Fleurs conducted a study with the YouGov polling station to determine the consumption behaviour of French people in the field of flowers and to determine their profile. Based on a panel of more than 1000 people, the results are representative of the French population. Some highlights:
- More than 8 out of 10 French people buy flowers ; the survey shows that 83% of French people buy flowers regularly, more than 8 out of 10 people, but more than a third say they only get them occasionally for specific events such as birthdays, Mother's Day or Valentine's Day (52%).
- 51% of those surveyed make this purchase to bring happiness to someone without any reason. Small occasions and the pleasure of giving are therefore the two reasons most often cited by the French for purchasing them. It is therefore very rarely a "pleasure purchase" (23%) or a purchase to brighten up the house (25%).
- The typical profile of a flower buyer is between 45 and 54 years old. Men are the biggest publishers. In general, women are 55% more price-sensitive. The same goes for Parisians. (Source: Jaf-Info, 25-05-2020)
French gardening more after the lock down; the lock down resulted in a necessary change in habits of work, leisure or even physical activities, but has not erased the desire to maintain quality of life. For this reason, many French people have turned to their outdoor space, according to a Promesse de Fleurs survey among 10,000 French people (nationally representative sample) who regularly garden. For 85% of them, gardening was central to their limited activities. 66% indicated that they spent more time in their garden or terrace during confinement. 55% garden every day and 33% two to three times a week. Concretely, 53% of French people who do gardening have all kinds of activities: mowing the lawn, maintenance, watering the ornamental garden or the vegetable garden. 23% mainly carried out work in the ornamental garden, 8% mainly took care of the vegetable garden and 9% mainly did maintenance. In addition, the research shows that one in ten people started with a vegetable garden for the first time during confinement, with the main reason for wanting to eat better (66%). (Source: Val'Hor, 22-05-2020)
Exemptions from driving bans in France at Whitsun; before Whitsun, France grants exemptions for transport. The suspension of the driving ban is there for the transport of foodstuffs, among other things. Returning these vehicles empty is also permitted. This was announced by the French government on 18 May. (Source: TLN, 20-05-2020)
Exports to the UK accounted for 3.5 percent of GDP in 2019; Dutch earnings from exports of goods and services to the UK amounted to € 28.3 billion in 2019. That is 3.5 percent of the Dutch GDP. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands on the basis of additional statistical services provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.
Compared to 2015, the share of export services to the United Kingdom in the Dutch economy fell slightly from 3.7 percent in 2015 to 3.6 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent in 2019. Export earnings to the United Kingdom have grown less rapidly since 2015 (by 11 percent) than total Dutch export earnings (by 14 percent).
Agriculture, the chemical industry and the food industry depend to a large extent on goods exports by Dutch manufacturers to the UK. Export services from re-exports of goods are only substantial in wholesale trade and trade intermediation. 265 thousand full-time jobs related to exports to the UK; data on employment related to exports to the UK are available up to 2018. In 2018 there were 265 thousand full-time jobs (FTEs) with 186 thousand FTEs men and 79 thousand FTEs women. This is comparable to 2017 employment and 10 percent more than in 2015 (then 240 thousand FTEs). (Source: BPN, CBS, 26-05-2020)
The United Kingdom is reducing import levies on flowers and plants; from 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom is introducing other import levies on products from countries with which it has not concluded a trade agreement before that date. This so-called UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the Common External Tariff valid in the transitional phase until 31 December 2020. According to a publication by the British government, the import levy on flowers will be 8%; under the Common External Tariff it will be 8.5%. Not all flowers will be taxed with 8% if there is no trade agreement before the end of the year. Roses, carnation, orchid, gladiolus, ranunculus, chrysanthemum and lily are excluded. Cut green goes from 2 to 0%. The import tariff for dried flowers remains 10%. For flowering and green houseplants the import duty goes from 6.5% to 0%. Trees and shrubs go from 8.3% to 0%. Tubers, bulbs and rhizomes go from 5.1 to 4%. Tulip, daffodil, hyacinth and gladiolus are excluded. (Source: Hortipoint, 20-05-2020)
Panic purchases in garden centres in the UK have led to a shortage of bedding plants; sales increases of 75% are reported. For some bedding plants there is now a waiting list of 8 weeks. Hundreds of thousands of flowers had to be composted after shops had to close abruptly at the beginning of the lockdown, and this combined with a huge increase in demand is causing shortages at garden centres. There is especially high demand for brightly coloured bedding plants (e.g. pansies). Some garden centres also indicate that they have too little soil and compost, while gardeners are rushing to stock this up. A spokesperson for the Horticulture Trade Association states the following: "Feedback has shown that companies are experiencing a wave of customers as stores reopen, but there are still supply chain problems (in terms of inventory) affecting sales, especially on bedding plants. (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk, 23-05-2020)
Non-essential retailers reopen in England from 15 June; Boris Johnson has announced that all non-essential retailers can reopen in England from 15 June as part of plans to further facilitate the lockdown. However, the move is "subject to progress in the fight against the coronavirus," and retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines to protect customers and employees. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will reopen from 1 June. (Source: BBC.UK, 26-05-2020)
Garden centres across Scotland are beginning to reopen their doors, pending a relaxation of the lock down measures starting on Friday; First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm Scotland's move to the first phase of relaxation on 28 May. She said last week that garden centres would be one of the companies that could open to the public in phase one with special precautions to help stop the spread of Covid-19. In the second phase, small shops could be reopened and non-essentials could be reopened in the third phase. (Source The Scotsman, 28-05-2020)
Morrisons now offers its customers the opportunity to send their loved ones a beautiful bouquet during the lockdown. The supermarket offers a lot of beautiful hand-tied flowers, complete with delivery the next day, for just £20.Customers can choose from one of three bouquets to send to their loved ones and each bouquet is handmade by Morrison's florists. (Bron: daily record.co.uk, 28-05-2020)
Temporary exception to the European ban on cartels in the ornamental horticulture sector; companies that produce flowers, plants or flower bulbs may temporarily make agreements on production with other producers. An exception is also made to the cartel ban within the European Union for dairy producers and the chip potato industry. The exception applies to floriculture products and chip potatoes up to and including 4 November and to dairy products up to and including 30 September. This type of agreement is normally prohibited because it is detrimental to competition between them. According to the European Commission, agreements of this kind on production can in fact ensure a more stable market. (Source FloraNews 24 May 2020)
Seasonal workers do get as far as Belgium; Flemish farmers and horticulturists seem to find enough seasonal workers after all. Due to the outbreak of the corona crisis, many countries closed their borders, which led to fears that the sector would not find enough workers to help with sowing, planting and harvesting. On an annual basis, the agriculture and horticulture sector needs 60,000 seasonal workers. In May it will be 20,000 to 25,000 people. The farmers are glad that a lot of foreigners have turned up, because they know the work and can be hired quickly. Both at federal and Flemish level, support measures have been taken in recent months. Contacts were made with countries such as Romania, Poland and Bulgaria to facilitate the arrival of seasonal workers. The period of the picking card that allows foreign seasonal workers to work in our country was doubled to 130 days. Temporarily unemployed, minimum subsistence earners, students and the like received certain benefits when working in agriculture. VDAB also launched the website helpdeoogst.be to match supply and demand. Boerenbond hopes that the government will extend the measures, which normally expire at the end of May, at least until August. (Source: BPN, Belga, 26-05-2020)
SAS is doubling flights because it is restarting Scandinavian and American routes; airline SAS said Wednesday that it would resume flights on several domestic and international routes in June, more than two months after the operator grounded most of its fleet due to the impact of the new coronavirus on travel. "This mainly includes domestic flights within and between the Scandinavian countries, but also flights to New York, Chicago and Amsterdam will be resumed from Copenhagen," SAS said in a statement. In Sweden, SAS is adding four destinations from Arlanda; Malmö, Ängelholm, Kalmar and Skellefteå. It also resumes flights from Stockholm to Helsinki and Turku, in Finland. In Norway, where SAS already serves all domestic destinations, it is now possible to fly from Bergen and Stavanger to Copenhagen and from Stavanger to Aberdeen. From Copenhagen, SAS resumes international flights to Amsterdam, New York and Chicago. The Scandinavian airline announced in mid-March that it stopped most of its traffic and left around 90 percent of its staff. At the end of April, the airline, whose two largest shareholders are the Swedish and Danish states, announced that it would lay off around 5,000 people, representing 40 percent of the company's workforce. (Source: TheLocal.se 27-05-2020)
Biggest easing step in the pandemic crisis so far; with the decline in infections and deaths due to Covid-19, Health Minister Alain Berset announced Wednesday the biggest easing step in the pandemic crisis so far. From 30 May, spontaneous meetings of up to 30 people will be allowed (in public places, on footpaths and in parks). From 6 June, private and public events with a maximum of 300 people are again possible. The next steps for events with a maximum of 1000 people will be decided on June 24th. Events with more than 1000 people are forbidden until the end of August. There is also relaxation for tourism and recreation. In restaurants, the group size is limited to four until 6 June. However, for groups of more than four people (from 6 June), companies are obliged to include the contact details of one guest per table. Entry/entry restrictions will be relaxed from 8 June: all applications from workers from the EU/EFTA region will be re-examined. In addition, Swiss companies will again be able to hire highly qualified workers from third countries. By 6 July at the latest, free movement of people and freedom to travel throughout the Schengen area should be fully restored, provided that the epidemiological situation so permits. (Source: Srf.ch, 27-05-2020)
Relaxation of rules; the next essential step in the opening of the Corona crisis in Austria will be on 29 May. As is well known, the lakes and outdoor pools will reopen if certain safety and hygiene measures are respected. The minimum distance of one metre remains a key factor. On 29 May, hotels and accommodation facilities, leisure parks, fitness centres and sports halls may also open - under strict conditions. For events in indoor and outdoor areas, a number of visitors of up to 100 people is possible. The basic principles here are seating and a distance of one metre. From 1 July, the permitted number of visitors at events will be increased to 250 and 500 on 1 August. From 1 July, open-air events can be attended by a maximum of 500 people. Outdoor events with a maximum of 750 visitors are possible from 1 August and up to 1,250 visitors are allowed with a safety concept. (Source: Meinbezirk.at, 25-05-2020)
Demand for gardeners increased by 40%; during the strict period of the lockdown the booking of gardeners was forbidden. Because of this there is overdue maintenance by garden owners. As a result, the demand for garden services on [ProntoPro.at] (https://www.prontopro.at/) has increased by 40% since the start of the relaxation. (Source: boerse-express.com, 28-05-2020)
Moscow starts to alleviate the limitations of the coronavirus after smoothing the curve; Moscow has seen its new cases of coronavirus decrease from a peak of 6,703 at the beginning of May to less than 3,000 in recent days. Moscow is ready to open non-food stores and certain service sector companies and to walk outside from Monday, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said during a video conference with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Sobyanin had extended the strict closure of the Russian capital - including the controversial digital pass system - until 31 May, even when Putin ended the nationwide 'non-working' period aimed at slowing the spread of the infection two weeks ago. The epicentre of Russia's coronavirus outbreak accounted for about half of the more than 370,000 cases. (Source: TheMoscow Times, 27-05-2020)
Horticultural production is expected to fall by 20-30% by June 2020 due to the effects of heavy rains and diseases that have slowed production. Research on the impact of corona on the horticultural sector carried out in April 2020 showed that companies have reduced their cash flow, restricted access to credit and increased production costs. (Source: Agricultural Attaché Network Ministry of Agriculture, LNV, 27-05-2020)
President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced an economic stimulus program totalling Ksh 53.7 billion. The fifth component of the stimulus programme is focused on agriculture, and in this regard the government has given priority to Ksh 3 billion for the supply of agricultural inputs through e-vouchers, aimed at 200,000 small-scale farmers. Under this programme, the government has also allocated Ksh 1.5 billion to help flower and horticultural producers gain access to international markets at a time of shortage of flights to and from the country. (Source: Ministry of Health Kenya, 24 May 2020)
The curfew and the measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 could possibly be lifted soon once President Uhuru Kenyatta's plan to reopen the country has been realised. Special committees met on Sunday to draw up plans for the reopening of the economic and social sectors. The committees are expected to present their plans to the president within about a week, before June 6 when the containment measures expire. Transport Minister James Macharia said the Ministry considers the aviation sector a priority and wants to get Kenya Airways 'back on track'. (Source: Daily Nation, 25 May 2020)
The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) expects that it will take a year before the floriculture sector will recover after the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 'rosy' reports that flower exports have risen from 20 per cent in April to 65 per cent this month as some countries negatively affected by the pandemic began to reopen. KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi said the sector is recovering despite challenges such as lack of flights and high flight costs. The CEO is calling on the government to deliver cargo planes. "Currently our weekly demand is 2,800 tons per week, but we can only export 1,000 tons due to lack of flights and high costs," he said. (Source: Standard media, 28 May 2020)
International flower fair AGRIFLOR moved to 4-6 October 2021. (Source: Agricultural Attaché Network Ministry of Agriculture, LNV, 22-05-2020)
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- 29 May 2020
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