Roses are even being thrown away

Europe: Market overflooded with red roses

April is a challenging month for rose growers. Many are having a high return flush as result from cutting back their crop for Valentine's Day. As a result, the market is flooded with roses, and particularly red. This, combined with a low demand results in a drop in prices. This week, they probably have reached the lowest point, with several growers throwing away a large part of their production of reds at their farms.

Throwing away roses
Zuurbier, for example, grows roses in Naivasha, Kenya, and currently throws away 75 percent of the production of red roses at their farm. "We do not want to overflood the market with roses, so many growers try to limit the number of roses that they put on the market", says Bert Middelkoop of Zuurbier. They sell their roses direct and through the Royal FloraHolland auction. "Every day, we review the situation and over the last days it has been quite bad. We always have a minimum volume that we supply to the auction, but even then, not every red rose is being sold."

The assortment of Zuurbier ranges from 40-70 cm roses in several colors. The 40-50 cm red roses are the ones that are hit the hardest. Also the pink varieties are low in demand. "Around 20-25 percent of the 40-50 cm roses are currently thrown away at the farm." Yellow, however, is still being sold.

Valentine's Day flush
The reason for the high volumes of red roses on the market is a result of Valentine's Day. "For Valentine's Day, many rose growers increase the production of their red roses. Then, the flush usually returns in April and in turn forces them to throw away their roses", says Middeloop. So, high sales during Valentine's day, often means a higher risk in April. "Fortunately, we do not "flush" our crop for Valentine's Day that heavily, so the volumes that we have to throw away are less than many other growers who drastically increased their production for Valentine's Day."

Combination high production volumes and good weather
According to Middelkoop, the reason for the current situation is the combination of the high production volumes and the good weather in Europe last weekend. "The temperatures were pleasant and the sun was shining. As a result, people do not think about roses, but more about pot and bedding plants."

Low prices
Also on the auction clock of Royal FloraHolland, the rose volumes from Africa are high and the demand is low. It resulted in lower prices. "The prices are lower than the usual minimum price that growers like to receive at the clock and particularly for the reds and whites. Other colors, however, are still doing fairly OK", says Amerik De Best, auctioneer at FloraHolland Rijnsburg. However, De Best points out that this trend is quite usual for the time of the year. "Normally, between Easter and Mother's Day, the demand for roses drops and the production at the rose farms is high. So, the prices are more or less similar to previous years", he says.

Lowest point
Middelkoop and De Best expect that the lowest point has been reached. "For the coming days, a bit of rain is forecasted. Hopefully, this will lift the demand a little. Afterwards, on April 23, Sant Jordi will be celebrated in Catalonia, Spain, which usually revives the sales of the reds a bit. And of course, for Mother's Day on May 13 we expect a high demand", says Middelkoop. Also De Best expects the prices to pick up soon. "I expect and hope that the prices will start to increase the beginning of next week."

Good prices exclusive varieties
But not all roses receive low prices. "The wedding season is taking off, so the exclusive roses are doing well. Actually, the majority of the exclusive varieties in general are receiving good prices on the clock", says De Best. And also for these varieties, he expects the prices to increase in the coming weeks.

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