Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the sales of cut flowers and ornamental plants in the domestic market dropped off dramatically and the exports are on hold due to border closings. Turkish Growers Associations along with many other associations operating in floriculture issued a joint press release:
“The industry has been working tirelessly for 9 months to supply products during the high-season which starts around mid-February and comes to close at the end of May. However, with the coronavirus outbreak, the demand both domestically and internationally has declined significantly and the whole flower and plant trade has almost come to a full-stop. These perishable products cannot be stored in our growers’ facilities and many products were discarded as waste.
A lot of growers had to lay off their employees as the estimated loss of value due to coronavirus for the industry is around 150 million USD. If the situation continues another 3 months as predicted by some, the loss of value will reach 350 million USD. This is a massive hit for the industry and many growers may not be able to survive such a sizable hit. We estimate nearly 70% of growers will go out of business. In the next few years, this will drop Turkey’s flower and plant production significantly and increase imports.
We believe that the state and the government need to intervene and ensure that the growers survive this period to be able to continue production. Our main demand is to include ornamental plants and the landscape sector within the scope of force majeure announced by the General Communiqué of the Tension Procedure Law No. 518. Loan debts of ornamental plants and landscaping sector to public and private banks should be postponed for at least one year without interest. Agricultural enterprises should be provided easily accessible, without mortgages very low-interest rates, and two-year long-term loans. 'Production Continuation Loan' should be implemented rapidly in the Ornamental Plants sector. For products that do not have a chance to be marketed, a coronavirus compensation' should be paid within the scope of force majeure and ornamental plants should be included in agricultural support. In order to maintain our overseas market shares in ornamental plant products, exorbitant rising aircraft cargo costs should be covered by the state, and additional support should be provided for rapid cost increases in road transport. VAT rate should be reduced to 8%. Considering the upcoming mother's day, marketing channels should be opened to enable the producer to sell the products at the lowest cost price. It should be compulsory to use domestic production plants in all public and local government tenders to be opened.“