Interview with Brand Wagenaar, analyst in horticulture
“There is international demand for high-quality French horticultural products, with varietal specificities”
Interview with Brand Wagenaar, an analyst specializing in horticulture
What does the French market have to offer buyers from abroad?
Until recently, France imported many horticultural products from abroad (917 million euros*) and exported relatively few (69 million euros*). During Covid, demand for horticultural products sky-rocketed, but producers were unable to keep up and there has been a deficit since 2020. The same trend has been seen in other European countries. The quality and hardiness of French plants as well as their breeds and varietal characteristics are popular outside of France, especially among its neighbours to the north and east.
Who are these international players? Why do they need targeted support at the show?
They are large-scale trade structures like Floréac, Royal FloraHolland, Royal Lemkes and Landgard, around a dozen in total, looking for goods not supplied by their own countries. This demand increased during Covid as people became more interested in gardening, growing and maintaining their gardens during the various lockdowns. Will the war in Ukraine have an effect on this momentum? At the moment, Europe’s supply cannot meet the demand.
These buyers are mainly interested in perennials, plants for vegetable gardens, nursery plants and certain cut flowers like anemones and peonies. Supporting them at the Salon du Végétal will make it possible to build long-term relationships, find contacts and set up partnerships for the years to come in order to establish reliable supply lines.
How do you see the market and industry?
The plant industry and horticulture market were strengthened by two years of Covid and are suddenly faced now with another problem. With the situation in Ukraine and Russia, energy prices have gone through the roof for the entire European horticultural industry. A Dutch producer who spent €20/m3 on gas in January 2021 had to pay €120/m3 in January 2022. How can these costs be recovered? Some Dutch producers stopped producing cut flowers due to the astronomical costs they would be unable to pass on. With the price of heating, the lack of Ukrainian seasonal workers and 80% of fertilizer being produced in Russia and Ukraine, things aren’t easy for the horticulture industry. In this context, French production is less fragile than other countries because it can use alternative energy sources, has a milder climate and is made up of smaller but more easily adaptable structures. We’re looking at what could be called “long-lasting inflation”.
- Val’Hor Infographic 2020 foreign trade study