GROWERS: By Sue Lamb
Damp mornings, cool nights, we take it Autumn has landed, but really what a summer we have had, and with the good weather sales have remained strong throughout both for plants and flowers. Is the winter going to be kind to us? Nobody knows. We used to say for tulips and daffs “you need to burn a bit of fuel” to be sure of better sales but sales these days are influenced by effects much further afield. One of the big questions posing at present is “are the Russians going to continue to take flowers and plants from Europe or are they going to close the border as they have done for a range of agricultural product including fruit and vegetable in retaliations for trade sanctions imposed on them following the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines plane over the Ukraine?” Like fruit and veg this country does export may flowers and plants to Russia but some growers have been exploring exporting purely for special days like Ladies Day at the beginning of March, and this market is huge for the Dutch. The problem is not so much that we don’t export direct but the amount of surplus product the rest of Europe, especially Holland, will have that will require a home and such situations will bring about price pressure for British product. Most growers have homes for their product but this is on the strength of the ‘word’ very few have contracts exchanged and so as always we need of the support of the customer to be sure and look for the British flag when buying. When selling the flag is one of our strongest allies.