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Rose grower Peter Viljoen, Sunland Roses:
Kenya: "Valentine's Day changed over time""Valentine's Day is not as it used to be like 5-10 years ago. Instead of two weeks of high demand and prices, we now only have a couple of days", says Kenyan rose grower Peter Viljoen. He is not flushing its crop for Valentine's Day anymore and decided to have a regular feed of production throughout the year. "A balanced crop is a better and healthier crop."
Peter Viljoen at the FlowersExpo in Moscow, Russia.
Not flushing the crop
According to Viljoen, people go crazy on reds a couple of days before Valentine's Day, celebrated on February 14. "In order to meet this high demand - and especially on the reds - we can decide to drastically increase the production by “flushing” the crop. However, if we do this, we will not have enough red ones for next the important day on March 8; Women's Day", says Viljoen. For Valentine's Day, Viljoen increases the production by only 10 percent.
Less in stock
Viljoen also points out that the demand and price spike is shorter than 5 to 10 years ago. "In the past, the prices increased at the Dutch auction started on the 20th of January. Now, at the auction, the prices start to become interesting from the beginning of February and for the direct market, that we supply too, the end of January", he says. But what could be the reason for this shorter price spike? "I think the reason lies in the changes in economics that took place over the last years. People do not want to have too much in stock anymore. Now, they order just a couple of days before the holiday and make sure they have enough."
Better for quality and prices
These changes seem to benefit both, the end consumer and the grower. According to Viljoen, the consumer will enjoy a better quality rose, because these roses are not in stock that long before the holiday anymore, and the grower will receive better auction prices "It is all about supply and demand at the auction. So, if every grower is flushing the crop for Valentine's Day, many roses will be on the market, which makes the prices go down. On top of that, the next month, for Women's Day, they have no flowers to offer. All in all, one could better have an average Valentine's Day with better prices and a crop that can still produce flowers for the month after than having too much flowers on Valentine's Day that receive low prices and nothing left for Women's Day."
Red: nr. 1 color year round
Not only for these holidays red are in high demand, it is, according to Viljoen, the number one color throughout the year. "Even though, we see an increased demand for different colors in particular seasons, like orange for autumn and yellow for Easter, I can say that red is on average the most demanded color throughout the year. Therefore, it is important to be able to supply a sufficient amount of these colors. In the past, the months of Valentine's Day and Women's Day were our best months, but now, we have had years were June and October stood out."
Valentine's Day on Tuesday
This year, Valentines Day will be celebrated on a Tuesday. And according to Viljoen, this will probably have a positive effect on the sales of flowers. "Historically speaking, we noticed that the Valentine's Days that are taking place on a weekday are generating better sales than when they are taking place in the weekend. I think that people, and the men in particular, are more on the street on a weekday and then more easily pass by and enter a flower shop."
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