Corona crisis: country updates

In this article you will find an update from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), who are involved in the crisis measures surrounding the Coronavirus and informs Royal FloraHolland about the impact of the virus on the export market.

Germany
Since April 4th garden centres and DIY stores in the German state of Lower Saxony opened for business. According to local authorities, this measure was intended to prevent too much 'garden centre tourism' to neighbouring states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, where garden centres were already open. The opening of garden centres in Lower Saxony last weekend led to bustle in some garden centres. In the German states of Bavaria, Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, garden centres and hardware stores remain closed. (Source: trade journal for the Floristry 07-04-2020)

The Deutscher Bauernverband has launched an online system on behalf of organisations in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture where companies can register their seasonal workers. This system is part of the agreements with the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through seasonal workers. (Source: Agricultural Attaché Network Ministry of Agriculture, LNV, 07-04-2020)

The German government has a proposal to relax the working time regulation until the end of June. In the "system-relevant professions" (including agriculture and the food industry), 12-hour working days and shorter breaks will be allowed, among other things. (Source: Agricultural Attaché Network Ministry of Agriculture, LNV, 07-04-2020)

Russia
Representatives of the Russian greenhouse horticulture sector offered a note to the Minister of Agriculture, Dmitry Patrushev. In it they state that the greenhouse horticulture sector faces a challenging situation that requires an immediate response from the government. Special attention has been paid to the flower industry. Flower growers want the same support as companies that grow vegetables. In addition, the market leaders have called for the import of cut flowers to be restricted for a year or for a customs duty to be introduced. (Source: Hortidaily, 07-04-2020)

US
In the U.S., many supermarkets have focused on essential products and flower orders have been stopped first (see Market update yesterday). Signals from Colombian growers nuance that picture. The only segment that continues to order is large-scale retail. Orders from large supermarket chains (such as Walmart) have declined, but not more than 40%. (Source: Royal FloraHolland, 07-04-2020)

While fresh produce shows increases in sales compared to 2019, the flower category is struggling due to COVID-19. In week 13, sales of flowers decreased by 37.4% compared to 2019. Many retailers have reduced their orders since the beginning of the corona crisis because they concentrated on essential goods. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is demanding attention from the entire chain in order to maintain all fresh produce categories in these unprecedented times. The PMA is a trade organisation representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and flower chain. (Source: Floral daily, 07-04-2020)

Kenya
The Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) will send an estimated 50,000 workers home without pay. Workers at flower farms will be hardest hit after the total collapse of the sector which directly employs more than 150,000 workers. (Source: Standard media, 06-04-2020)

Austria
The Landwirtschaftskammer (Ministry of Agriculture) Lower Austria appeals for solidarity and now asks the Austrians to support local businesses and rely on flowers from local gardeners. In addition, a letter to the REWE, Spar and Lidl called for more solidarity and the offering of Austrian plants. This is because in the Austrian supermarkets there are still many plants and flowers of foreign origin on offer. (Source: Meinbezirk.at, 08-04-2020)

Sweden
There is increasing international criticism of the way in which Sweden deals with combating the Corona virus. Experts around the world state that Sweden will get a high infection rate if no further measures are taken to implement 'Social Distancing' and prevent large gatherings, for example in the coming Easter weekend. The question now is whether Sweden will change its policy in the coming days or week. (Source: AD, 06-04-2020)

Switzerland
The pressure on the Federal Council to get the economy back on track is increasing in Switzerland. The government of Lucerne, in close consultation with the cantonal business associations, has requested that garden centres and retailers be reopened from 19th April. Later, service companies such as restaurants, hairdressers and the tourist industry will be able to reopen. This plan would send out a positive signal. For the time being, Lucerne is the only canton to make this call. The Federal Council will make a decision on 16th April. (Source: 20min.ch, 07-04-2020)

Source: Royal FloraHolland


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