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Belgium: Project Azalea Quality celebrates 20th birthday

Twenty years ago, in 1997, after consultation between the professional organizations of growers and traders, researchers and advisers, it was decided to stimulate the production of quality azaleas through the Project Azalea Kwaliteit (Project Azalea Quality), the PAK. A board and an advisory group (consisting of former growers, consultants and researchers) were set up. The secretariat and accounts are in the hands of the PCS (Test Center for ornamental cultivation, Destelbergen).

Azaleas of affiliated growers are checked for quality at least 4 times a year. The emphasis is on beautiful uniformly grown plants, free from weeds and with a guaranteed homogeneous and rich flowering. Through the PAK code, the traceability of each plant is guaranteed.

Meanwhile we are 20 years down the road and the association is very active. The affiliated member growers represent a production of about 20 (of the total 30) million azaleas on a yearly basis.

July 14, 2017
On July 14th, the azalea growers will celebrate. Their quality system, unique in Europe, which guarantees the top quality and traceability of the Gent azalea, has its 20th anniversary. The celebration continues in the Castle of Saffelaere. In the afternoon, they will hold an extensive discussion about how they can even better position this Gent azalea in the market over the next 20 years, and how research can assist them. In the evening, they will start with presenting the main conclusions of the afternoon discussion, and continue with a cozy gathering and dinner.

European recognition
A plant cultivated at the grower under strict PAK standards can be sold in bloom as a Gent azalea. Only azaleas cultivated and blossomed in East Flanders can be marketed as Gent azalea. The product with compulsory reference to the PAK is grown under this comprehensive control system and is always traceable, a unique system for azaleas in Europe. That is why the Gent azalea received recognition as Protected Geographical Indication in Europe in 2010. This makes it the first floriculture product in the EU that was awarded this label!

Gentse azalea
A Gent azalea can be recognized by the ‘Gent azalea’ label or the BGA stamp on the back of the plant label of the recognized growers and traders. The recognized growers guarantee you a Gent azalea of top quality. A top of the range ornamental product from home soil, with a European title! The Gent azalea surprisingly fits in a contemporary interior. A product that radiates class and colors more than your day.

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