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July 1-15, 2015:

Fire at Van der Knaap substrates, expansions, acquisitions, introductions, effects of Calais strike and financial situation Greece

July 2015, did not take off well for the Dutch Van der Knaap substrates as they were hit by a large fire. But more happened this month, below is an overview of the most interesting occurrences from July 1-15 2015.

Sher Ethiopia to inaugurate expansion
In July 2015, it was announced that Sher Ethiopia Plc, was implementing an expansion project in Adami Tulu, 170Km south of Addis Abeba in the Oromia Regional State on a 203ha plot of land. So far, expansion on 50 ha of the total plot has been completed. Only 160ha of land will be used for the development of a new greenhouse, whereas the remaining land will be used for building offices, a pack house, grading hall, cold room and other facilities.

New training centre in Hungary to develop hydroponics in Eastern Europe

In July 2015, an advanced trial and demonstration center was opened in Hungary. The demonstration center will serve as a source of knowledge to educate growers in the Eastern European region and was launched by Cocogreen and its partner in Eastern Europe: Duna - R.

"Interesting sales of scented potted roses"
Innovation is a must to keep on top of the market. This statement was confirmed by Rosa-Danica, a Danish potted rose grower who introduced a new potted rose last February. "The market of potted plants is squeezed and mainly due to the devaluation of the ruble, we and many EU potted plant growers experienced a decrease in sales. However, due to the introduction of our scented potted rose our market offers a better perspective," says Torben Moth Madsen, owner of Rosa Danica.

More pressure on the EU market due to situation in Greece
In July 2015, the financial situation in Greece caused tension on the floriculture market. On June 30, by midnight, Greece had to pay 1.6 billion euros to the IMF, but they didn't. "Consequently, the plants and flower exporters became more cautious regarding their deliveries. They only want to work with cash or prepayments or they will even stop delivering to the country. As a consequence, it was expected that there would be more products on the European market, which would cause lower prices," explained Herman De Boon, chairman of the VGB (Association of Wholesalers in Horticultural Products).

Dümmen Orange acquired Florexpo
In the beginning of July 2015, Dümmen Orange announced the acquisition of Florexpo, a specialist in the production of perennials, herbs and annuals. Florexpo, with more than € 9 million in sales, fits the strategic objective to have a top three position in the perennial market. The acquisition included the move of production to Dümmen Orange’s existing farms in Guatemala, creating instant synergies.

CultivAPP begins its internationalization in Kenya
In July 2015, Inventia Agrárica, a company located in the Science and Technology Park of Almería (PITA) launched its CultivAPP application on the international market. The application is now available for Android and iOS and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple Store and Google Play. This is a farm management tool which already has more than 5,000 downloads and 3,500 active users. After its launch in Spain, this Almería company released its tool in Kenya with specific pesticides databases for the country. Soon the application will be available for download in other countries such as Mexico, Israel, Netherlands, Brazil, India and the US. CultivAPP is free for individual farmers. In the case of agribusiness companies and agricultural technicians, the purchase of a commercial license is required.

UV treatment prevents post harvest infections
Post harvest handling of flowers is as important as growing them. Flowers, and in particular roses, are extremely sensitive to fungal, bacterial or pest infections. Especially when flowers are confined in humid boxes, they develop botrytis. Many growers are dealing with this problem and are therefore often receiving claims from their clients. In order to provide a solution to this problem, UV RER / ANEMO was asked to develop an industrial system that decreases the occurrence of these post harvest infections. So, they invented the UV-C Disinfection Tunnel (UVDT) in partnership with Nicolas Pertusier of AGROWAY Consulting & Engineering. This is explained by Caroline Bal of UV RER / ANEMO. At the IFTEX, the system was launched. "We attended the IFTEX for the first time and we received a lot of positive feedback from new and existing customers," she says.

Philips introduces new GreenPower LED toplight range
In July 2015, Philips Horticulture LED lighting introduced the new GreenPower LED toplighting range extension and a brand new design for the North American market. GreenPower LED toplighting is now one-and-a-half times more efficient at converting electricity to light (up to 2.7 μmol/Joule) than any HPS system on the market. LED toplighting produces significantly less radiation heat than conventional HPS lamps, so growers can adjust light and temperature more independently. This allows the grower to grow better crops, faster, year-round and control the greenhouse climate more precisely.

Metazet/Formflex & Viscon to open subsidiary in Kingsville
In an article, published on FloralDaily last June, Metazet/Formflex & Viscon announced the opening of their subsidiary in Kingsville, Ontario Canada in August 2015. With this subsidiary growers in the Leamington area will be able to enjoy the benefits of a full local service department from the company.

Flower cargo affected by Calais strike in France
The strike actions in Calais, France which took place in July 2015, have had a large impact on the British economy. It caused large lorry queues on both sides of the channel, in Dover and Calais, and cost Britain's economy £1 billion, the Express reported. As many flowers are transported from the Netherlands to UK, this sector was affected too. However, fortunately, many transport companies were able to limit the damage by changing their schedules and routes. Therefore, British flower wholesalers were still able to supply their flowers.

Large fire at Van der Knaap substrates in Holland
On the night of July 7 2015, a large fire took place at the production location of Van der Knaap substrates in Kwintsheul, the Netherlands. Around midnight the fire started at one of the production halls. According to a company spokesperson, the fire mainly damaged the buildings, and it looked like the production machinery was still okay. The fire caused no fatal accidents; two persons inhaled smoke and were checked by medical staff, and a third person was transported to the hospital.

"Breeders will not survive on their own"
In June 2015, Dümmen Orange participated for the first time at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya. At the show, FloralDaily had an interview with Dummen Orange's Peter van der Meer, who used to work for Terra Nigra as managing director of Color Vision Roses Ltd, he told us more about the financial pressure on rose breeders. According to him, breeders will not survive on their own.

Venomous wandering spider found in bunch of flowers at FloraHolland
A venomous wandering spider was discovered by an employee in a bunch of flowers at the FloraHolland auction in Rijnsburg, the Netherlands in July 2015. Afterwards, the spider was released outside and has not been caught since. The spider, Ctenidae, is highly aggressive and venomous, and are the only wandering spiders known to pose a serious danger to humans. One can die within 6 hours after being bitten.

Earley Ornamentals now distributor for Whetman Pinks
Since July 2015, the independent British producer and supplier of young plants, Earley Ornamentals, became a distributor for dianthus breeder and grower, Whetman Pinks. Back in fashion and bred for today’s market place, this versatile Pinks range, is an exciting addition to Earley’s portfolio and includes the multi-award winning variety Scent First® Memories, with its outstanding spicy fragrance.

Take off Cultivate '15 in Columbus Ohio
After the educational courses held on Saturday, the Cultivate '15 really took off on Sunday July 12. This 87th edition of the event, formerly known as the OFA Short Course and rebranded as “Cultivate” last year, is the largest all-industry horticulture exposition and convention in North America. The event was held in the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus Ohio. The trade show area of this 87th edition was larger than last year, partly due to the addition of more exhibitors from the controlled environment agriculture industry. In an article on FloralDaily, we gave a sneak peak of the first day.

BonarAgro launches new office in United States
During the Cultivate'15 in July, BonarAgro announced the opening of their US office near Asheville, North Carolina. This new office enables them to serve North American customers with a selection of readily available products, faster delivery times and direct sales/customer service in the States. BonarAgro has a fast growing North American customer base and is already an established producer of screens for horticulture use throughout Europe. It is headquartered in Zele, Belgium. Kurt Parbst was hired as the new sales manager for BonarAgro in the U.S. and Canada.

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