Over the last few years the interest for South African Cape Flora has grown and the high demand really became apparent during the drought in the Cape Province at the beginning of 2018. "The demand exceeded the supply", explains Dave Kaplan of Afrex Trading, an exporter of South African horti-and agricultural products and specialized in fresh cut flowers. Despite the drought, they reported an increase in total volume of exported flowers. "This augurs well for the future."
Lee Sarah and Dave Kaplan at the IFTF 2017 in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands.
The Cape Flora flowers are being grown outside and according to Kaplan, this is what makes them so special. "Most of the cultivated cut flowers in the world are grown in closed conditions or greenhouses, but the unique Cape Flora are grown outside in natural open conditions and some products only grow in the wild." But what about quality? "Over the years, we have gained knowledge about the flowers and the way to ship them, and this experience enabled us to select the highest quality fresh flowers."
Even though the increase in demand, there is still a strong competition in the export market. "In order to maintain a competitive edge, Afrex developed a special business model that caters to both small and large business needs. This allows Afrex to provide tailor made solutions to clients and to provide a personalized and reliable service", he says.
Kaplan sees a lot of potential to export to the emerging markets in China, Middle East and Far East. However these markets create challenges, to overcome the language and cultural differences. In order to supply clients in these countries, they adopted new business processes to market the products and receive orders from clients that do not necessarily speak the same language. "It enables us to communicate with our clients and bring our products to these countries."
At the beginning of 2018 the Cape Province of South Africa experienced a severe drought which took a heavy toll on the Cape Flora. "It affected the length of some of the products and also had a negative impact on the quantity of product yielded. This meant that there was limited supply and there was more demand than supply."
Despite this, Afrex reported an increase in the total volume of exported flowers. "This augurs well for the future, because there is a lot of demand and we look forward to substantially increasing our market share, with more growth in export volumes in the years to come."
Curious about the products of Afrex Trading? They are present at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands this week and they can be visited at booth number A3.25.