Dutch Flower and Plant Exports Face a 4% Decline as Cautious Consumers Impact Market

by Anna

The Dutch flower and plant wholesale market has encountered a challenging start to the year, witnessing a 4% decline in exports, according to the latest report from the VGB (the Association of Wholesale Trade in Horticultural Products), based on Floridata’s export statistics. In January alone, the export value recorded was 505 million euros, signaling a setback for the industry as both prices and volumes lag behind last year’s figures. Matthijs Mesken, Director of the VGB, attributes this decline to consumer caution in the market.

Mesken notes that cautious consumers have impacted sales, failing to keep pace with the previous year. Deliveries to retailers in specific countries are notably trailing, although the Dutch supply has remained relatively stable, alleviating pressure on the Netherlands as a main port. Despite the challenges, Valentine’s Day sales seem to be aligning with last year’s performance. Traders maintain a cautious optimism, with slightly higher purchase volumes and somewhat lower prices compared to the previous year. Notably, roses and tulips emerge as the top sellers in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day.

The adverse weather conditions in January have further complicated trade dynamics. Export values to Germany and France experienced declines of 7% and 11%, respectively. Mesken commented on these figures, stating, “Fortunately, there are also markets that experience small growth, such as the United Kingdom, Poland, and Italy.” Notably, trade to certain Central and Eastern European countries is witnessing significant growth despite overall challenges.

In addition to market fluctuations, the floriculture sector faces increasing pressure to enhance sustainability practices. Mesken acknowledges progress in this regard but emphasizes that it comes with associated costs. He urges the government to provide a perspective that enables investments in further sustainability initiatives.

The challenges faced in 2021 are reflected in last year’s export data, which amounted to 6.8 billion, representing a 4% decrease in value and an 8% decrease in volume for flowers and plants. As the industry grapples with ongoing uncertainties, stakeholders are keenly observing market trends and anticipating measures that will support sustainability and overall growth.

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