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La Villetta's efforts to let growers thrive

'Making the carnation profitable again'

"We are not 'throwing' our product on the market anymore", says Gianfranco Fenoglio of La Villetta, an Italian carnation breeder and propagator. "We saw carnation prices decreasing in some countries. So, in order to make the carnation a profitable crop again, we decided to supply less growers, selecting the best ones and let them trial the products extensively, from the greenhouse till the customer."

Gianfranco Fenoglio at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands. "At the show, many growers visited our stand with their clients."

According to Fenoglio, this is a long term investment, for both the breeder and the grower, but it will pay off eventually. "We let the grower trial a variety for 1 to 1,5 years and after these trials, the grower knows the demand and prices for this product." But what will be the benefit of the breeder? "As a breeder, we offer the trials to the growers, and if they decide to produce this variety commercially, we can ask a higher price for this variety. So, it's a win-win situation."

Different markets different tastes
Breeders are always looking for new colors and new flower habits. However, one has to keep an eye on the market preferences. "Different markets have different tastes", says Fenoglio. He grows the flower production cuttings in Colombia and the Mother plants in Italy. The majority of his young plants are being supplied to growers in Japan who supply the internal market and Colombia who mainly supply The United States, Russia, Japan and the United Kingdom. The customer preferences in these markets are different and are sometimes far apart. "The Russians, for example, like big flowers with contrasting colors and the Japanese prefer pastel colors with round petals," says Fenoglio.

Yukari scuro. "This is a natural mutation of Yukari variety (cream purple flushed).
It is very popular in Japan and increasing interested by growers in Colombia (for those growers that want to deal with Japan and north America). It is a very fast growing and productive variety."

Even with these different preferences, Fenoglio still sees the highest demand for the traditional colors, but the bi-colored carnations seem to increase in popularity too. "These colors are new for the consumer and they are therefore eager to buy them." And this popularity results in an increasing demand for bi-colored carnation young plants among the Colombian growers. "In some markets, the prices of the bi-colored carnations are about 10 to 15 euro cents higher at auction."

For more information
La Villetta
Gianfranco Fenoglio
Email: [email protected]