In the village of Deurne in the south of the Netherlands, Henk Raaijmakers is not looking forward to Brexit day.
“I am expecting complete chaos at the border,” said the 60-year-old owner of a large plant and tree nursery, “Brexit will be disruptive for my business and the Dutch horticultural sector as a whole.”
Raaijmakers’ company, which he started from scratch in 1982, consists of 2 hectares of greenhouses and 4 hectares of outdoor growing space. He exports nearly three-quarters of his total production to other countries. A quarter goes to the U.K., largely from online sales.
Normally a British customer waits three to four days for the plants to arrive. “Right now, fast delivery combined with good quality products is why the British import from the Netherlands,” said Raaijmakers, who is also vice president of the European Nurserystock Association, which represents growers across Europe.
He fears Brexit will change all that — meaning “substantially longer” waits and a significant price hike. “Forms, import fees and a longer list of phytosanitary obligations — which I think will also be used as a political tool after Brexit — will cost a lot,” said Raaijmakers. “Combined with the exchange rate of the British pound, this could mean that our products will cost up to 50 percent more.”