Breeder Dümmen Orange is presenting Basewell™, a new rooting technology for ornamental plants. This state-of-the-art rooting technology will simplify the process of bringing ornamental plants from the breeder to the grower through a special offshore rooting process.
The special offshore rooting process ensures that high-quality root cuttings can be delivered, together with a special strip, directly to the grower without any substrate. Growers will be able to plant the root cuttings directly in the pots they will be sold in.
‘New industry standard’
“We are very much looking forward to bringing this innovation to the market”, says Perry Wismans, Head of Floriculture Innovation at Dümmen Orange. “Through this technology, Dümmen Orange has raised the industry standard for plant breeding and granted customers from all over the globe access to an improved supply chain.”
On the European market in 2019
Growers who are looking forward to seeing the new rooting technology on the market will need to exercise a little patience. “The first launch of Basewell™ is directed at the North American market”, explains Harry Kloppenburg, Chief Commercial Officer at Dümmen Orange. “Basewell™ will be available elsewhere in 2019, including in Europe.”
Dümmen Orange tested Basewell™ in North America on a series of annuals and perennials. The objective of the tests was to assess the performance of the rooting technology in comparison to conventional non-rooted and rooted cuttings. Tests showed that the cuttings on which the Basewell™ technology had been used can grow into a sellable product in the same or even in a shorter time in comparison to rooted cuttings.
The tests involving Basewell™ took place at Costa Farms. The vice president of this nursery says that the rooting technology is performing well. “We successfully tested Basewell™ on our SunStanding Quick Turn™ cuttings and have now initiated tests on more varieties.”
Working more efficiently
According to Dümmen Orange the new technology will result in a shorter cultivation cycle because growers will be able to obtain their cuttings directly from the production site. Besides this, as Basewell™ allows cuttings to be transplanted directly into the pot in which they will be sold, growers will be able to save both space and money. The production area could therefore be used for growing the finished product.
Source/photo: Dümmen Orange.
The initiators and developers agree: Floriworld, the experience centre of the ornamental plant sector, will be opening its doors in Aalsmeer at the end of 2019. The parties engaged in this initiative since the beginning have announced that they have the support of the entire ornamental plant sector. The centre will provide inspiration to hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
The initiators (including the Koninklijke VolkerWessels subsidiary KondorWessels Projecten) aim to demonstrate, together with the ornamental plants sector, the effect that flowers and plants can have on everyday life. Through this, they aim to boost the global demand for flowers and plants.
Nurturing that green feeling
Floriworld has been a topic of discussion for several years. Following the initial feasibility studies a great deal of hard work has been done on Floriworld behind the scenes, particularly in the past year. This experience centre is intended to nurture ‘that green feeling’ among the many international tourists visiting the Amsterdam metropolitan region. It is estimated that the number of tourists visiting the Netherlands from abroad will grow by 3% by the year 2025. The Keukenhof flower gardens, for example, once again demonstrated a growth in visitor numbers, with figures reaching 1.4 million this year.
A growing interest in the Netherlands and in flowers provides a positive perspective for the realisation of Floriworld. At the beginning of December 2017 the various parties involved in the project (Koninklijke VolkerWessels subsidiary KondorWessels Projecten, Dutch Experience Group, Royal FloraHolland and Bloemenbureau Holland) took the last step. In a meeting attended by representatives from the entire ornamental plant sector (breeders, growers, traders and promoters) the above parties announced their commitment to the project. It is now certain that Floriworld will be built.
Construction to commence in autumn 2018
Royal FloraHolland is a key partner in the realisation and will be an important shareholder in the Floriworld foundation, together with Bloemenbureau Holland and Dutch Experience Group. They will ensure that the activities in this experience centre will contribute to the growing demand for flowers and plants in concrete terms. Construction is estimated to commence in autumn of 2018 and a pre-opening will take place sometime during the 2019 Trade Fair in Aalsmeer.
Royal FloraHolland introduced the Greenovation Award to promote as well as reward sustainability initiatives in the ornamental plant sector. The first awards were presented on 9 November. The winners were GreenBalanZ and Fresco Flowers.
The winner in the ‘Best Concept’ category was the Pure Orchids Concept by GreenBalanZ from Kudelstaart. The Eco Flowerbag by Fresco Flowers from Aalsmeer came in first in the ‘Best Article’ category. If it were up to CEO Lucas Vos of Royal FloraHolland, the Greenovation Award will become a tradition in which sustainability initiatives in the ornamental plant sector are honoured on a recurring basis.
To determine the winners, the public was invited to vote on the nominees that were presented by a jury of professionals, who had previously assessed all the entries sent in. GreenBalanz uses exclusively natural crop protection agents and organic nutrients in the cultivation of its Pure Orchids. The company obtained an SKAL certificate for organic farming in 2014. Not only that, their plants are edible! GreenBalanz grows its products in greenhouses that are not heated with gas, but with heat stored underground in summer and retrieved in winter. The jury: “GreenBalanZ is a pioneer in the organic farming sector. Pure Orchids is a fully sustainable concept.”
Waste as a raw material
Fresco Flowers use its waste as a valuable raw material. The Eco Flowerbag is a luxury carrier bag for flowers. Not only is it user-friendly, it offers flowers outstanding protection. The product is made from 100% recycled packaging material for flowers. The jury: “It is wonderful to see how waste can be transformed in a new, useful product.”
Source/photo: Royal FloraHolland.
In the past five years, the Dutch greenhouse horticulture industry has shrunk by approximately 10% in terms of acreage. As opposed to just under 10,000 hectares of land dedicated to greenhouse horticulture in 2012 (9,960 hectares), this industry’s acreage has decreased by 1,000 hectares as it stands today, according to the Statistics Netherlands. During this period, the cultivation greenhouse vegetables has increased, which automatically translates into a decline in the greenhouse cultivation of ornamental plans.
According to Statistics Netherlands, the surface area dedicated to greenhouse vegetables amounts to 4,950 hectares, just under 30 hectares more than last year, In comparison to 2012, this means an increase of 80 hectares or, in other words, a 1.6% growth. This growth can be attributed primarily to tomatoes, for which crop the total surface area this year amounts to 1,730 hectares. This is 40 hectares, and therefore just under 2.4% more in comparison to 2012.
Greenhouse vegetables are flourishing
The explosive growth of the cherry tomato is responsible for this, according to the statistics. The surface area amounts to 420 hectares this year, almost 3 times more than in 2016. This is, however, at the expense of the vine tomato, which has seen a 20% reduction, down to 970 hectares. Nevertheless, the vine tomato remains the most popular greenhouse vegetable, followed by red block peppers, cucumbers and greenhouse-grown strawberries. The acreage reserved for sweet peppers, cucumbers and aubergines remains stable, while surface area dedicated to strawberries grown in greenhouses and tunnels has increased proportionately this year: by 17.6%, up to 400 hectares.
Fewer ornamental plants
Where the cultivation of greenhouse vegetables has grown, the production of ornamental plants in the Netherlands has shrunk during the course of the past five years. The surface area dedicated to growing flowers amounts to 3520 ha in 2017, 300 ha less than in 2016, meaning a decrease of just under 8%. Between 2012 and 2015, the acreage decreased by 3.5% to 5.5%. In the past five years, the acreage dedicated to nursery-grown flowers decreased by 1,030 hectares, a shrinkage of at least 22.5%. This decrease can be attributed primarily to cut flowers. In 2012, cut flowers were grown on 2,310 hectares of land, which means that the cultivation of cut flowers has decreased by 630 hectares within the space of five years. This is a decrease of at least 27%. With regard to potted plants, the surface area decreased to 1,270 hectares: a decrease of 60 hectares or 4.5%. As from 2012, the surface area dedicated to potted plants amounted to approximately 1,290 and 1,330 hectares on an annual basis.
Source: CBS. Photo: Mario Bentvelsen.
JEM-id is based in Honselersdijk and develops websites and software. Ninety-five per cent of its clients are active in the fresh produce and ornamental plants sectors. Account manager Martijn van Andel has experienced the rapid growth in online sales achieved in the past few years by the ornamental plants sector, while according to him the the fresh produce sector lagged notably behind.
Van Andel explains that the diversity of the products in the ornamental plants sector is much greater than that of the fresh produce sector. Apart from this, consumers want to see fresh food products before buying them. ‘Even if you’re speaking about the same product, there are notable differences. No two moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) are alike. The number of branches will be different, as well as the quality, the packaging, and many other aspects. You really buy a specific article. This is why people are looking for ways to clearly and efficiently present the diversity of their products. Good photographs, taken at the growers’ place of business, are very important in this.’
This is different in the fresh produce sector, and the differences are less obvious. ‘If you order a five-kilogram box of red sweet peppers, diversity will be very limited. Everyone knows what you mean and nobody actually needs to look at the products before buying them. In this respect, ordering fresh produce is easier than ordering ornamental plants.’
JEM-id developed the FloraXchange online communication platform especially for the potted plant sector. This platform provides support to growers in advertising their offering of potted plants. There are currently 1,059 growers affiliated with FloraXchange who present their products on the website. JEM-id makes this information available to more than 300 buyers, who in turn forward this information to their own customers. ‘It is quite revolutionary in the market. I venture to claim that this initiative has given the entire sector a boost. It provides in a demand; we have obtained a lot of positive response.’
According to the ICT specialist, trade companies really wanting to boost their sales have to make sure that their internal automation and logistics processes are in order. This means that a lot of their old systems will need to be replaced. Of course, not everyone is equally enthusiastic about this. ‘If you are a leading exporter of fresh produce or ornamental plants and you have to replace your internet systems, this will cost you a lot of money. This will, of course, have a huge impact, while the success ratio can be called quite exciting in terms of feasibility. There are many companies who keep putting this off. However, you have to embrace change rather than avoid it; at this point you have no other choice. You have to change with the times. This is the only way to survive in a world where the only constant is change.’
According to Van Andel, there are still plenty of opportunities in the consumer market, both in the ornamental plants sector and the fresh produce sector. Logistics plays an important part in that respect. ‘Although there are special boxes available these days for shipping plants, shipping shoes is still a lot easier. Besides this, plants are impulse products. You don’t decide to buy a plant when you’re sitting on the couch in the evening with your laptop; you decide to buy one when you’re at the garden centre or the supermarket.’
However, the ICT specialist is surprised that the trend of buying groceries online is lagging so far behind. At the same time, he offers some plausible explanations for this. ‘Ordering a packet of macaroni, a jar of pasta sauce or a carton of yoghurt online is easy. But it’s different when you’re buying fruit or vegetables. If you regularly buy produce at a supermarket, you know that the freshest mushrooms aren’t the ones stalled out in front, and that the quality of green beans is variable from day to day. This is preventing a lot of consumers from buying these products online.’
One of the aspects that should be taken into consideration is customer perceptions at the moment of sale. ‘Buying a computer online is a lot more fun than buying one at a shop. Mediamarkt may have the lowest prices, but when you buy a computer there you will be helped by an eighteen-year-old in an ill-fitting jacket. On the other hand, when you buy a computer via Coolblue, you are not being pestered by anybody trying to sell you a more expensive product, you can consult hundreds of user reviews and your computer will be delivered to your home the next morning. It’s clear who will be winning this race.’
Text: Tuinbouwteksten.nl/Ank van Lier. Photo: JEM-id.
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