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Focco Prins, Queen Genetics:
'Interest for kalanchoë cutflowers goes beyond Europe'
Focco Prins at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen. The cut kalanchoes are available in six colors. The bouquet of cut kalanchoes that Prins is holding are grown in the Netherlands and the cut kalanchoes in the vase, next to Prins are grown in Ecuador.
The Queen® breeding department of Knud Jepsen a/s has focused on cultivating compact ethylene tolerant pot plants and Kalanchoe CutFlowers, with above average longevity and large flowers for many years. Recently, Queen® Genetics was established to create synergies between the breeding department, cutting sales and growers, to ensure better support all the way through the supply chain. “We decided that it is not enough to sell high quality cuttings, so we looked at ways to ensure that the finished products live up to certain quality standards and are well presented at the Point of Sale (PoS)”, says Prins.
Introducing Queen® Kalanchoë CutFlowers
The company’s most prominent new crop Queen® Kalanchoë CutFlowers initiated the start of this development mentioned above. After production areas in Denmark became too small to handle the volumes demanded by the market, the company selected the most suitable varieties and started trialing them at a Dutch chrysanthemum grower; Laurent van der Oort of Laurent Fleur.
The strategy has been to offer not only cuttings to the grower, but also on demand technical support and specific growing and harvesting guidelines. “We make sure that the grower is well equipped to grow superior quality but we also advise him how to package and sell it”, says Prins. “In today’s highly competitive environment, quality is key to success. Therefore Queen® Genetics provides quality management tools as well as marketing support, based on the company’s own experience and best practice”, he continues.
And this strategy seemed to pay off. “Today Laurant Fleur produces 70,000 stems per week, with plans to increase the production in the coming year, as retailers in different market segments are eager to buy and sell the product. As a result, 80% of his production is sold in advance to retailers that focus on high quality and availability all year.”
From left to right: Picking mother strick, planting the cuttings, stem after harvest.
In the company’s home market, Denmark, the introduction of the new crop has been most successfully so far. "Especially the Danish younger generations between 20-40 years of age are fond of this product, mainly due to its convenience and long shelf life. The flowers last more than three weeks in a vase while the water does not needs to be changed", says Prins. However with the largest German flower retailer, introducing the product with permanent availability in its web shop, the flower has more and more exposure in other markets too.
The interest for Queen® Kalanchoë CutFlowers goes beyond Denmark and even beyond Europe. Growers situated outside of Europe, are interested to sell them locally or export them to non-European countries. In this case, Queen® Genetics has the ability to support growers during the cultivation process as well as with marketing activities for the product. “We plan to expand the Queen® brand, which stands for excellent craftsmanship and high quality Kalanchoe, by selling solutions that include support all the way through the supply chain; Starting with the cuttings and finishing with an attractive high quality product at the PoS”. states Prins.
At the moment, Queen® Kalanchoë CutFlowers are being produced and sold in Asia - Japan, Vietnam and Korea, and South America - Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. In the Asian countries and Brazil they are mainly produced for the local market and in Colombia and Ecuador for the US market. According to Prins, there are plenty of opportunities for Queen® Kalanchoë CutFlowers to grow in these countries. "The retailers and consumers are very enthusiastic and willing to pay for the product."
The cut flower production.
Keep on breeding
Queen® Genetics is supporting the Queen® Kalanchoë CutFlowers growers during cultivation and product positioning in the market, but Knud Jepsen a/s continues breeding new varieties and further enhancing their varieties that are currently on the market.
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