For ornamentals growers in Indonesia, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a significant blow to their businesses. With a heavy reliance on flower sales for hotels, weddings and events, the lockdown measures have cut off sales for many growers.
The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) was pleased to offer its support to growers belonging to its member, Indonesian Flower Association, ASBINDO. The Association hosted a webinar on 18 June about ‘The business of floriculture after Covid-19’.
AIPH Board Member and representative of ASBINDO, Ms Karen Tambayong was happy with the response. She says: “Our members were so happy to see each other, even if it was online. They were very happy to listen to AIPH’s presentation, and to know that they are not the only ones facing this problem since Covid-19 struck.”
Many members of the audience were smallholder farmers, and there were delegates from the Indonesian government. Ms Tambayong, notes: “From the Government officials’ reaction, it seems they were inspired by the results of AIPH’s global survey, which shows how some governments in other countries were helping growers through this situation.”
Tourism is a significant economic driver in Indonesia. However, with the ban on international flights and the big shut down of hotels and other venues, it is having a knock-on effect to growers whose products would typically be decorating these venues or helping to celebrate happy occasions.
Ms Tambayong adds: “During the pandemic, most growers have seen their flower business decline drastically. However, the selling of pot plants and the demand for planting in the garden has risen.”
Should these growers give up growing flowers? Plant different crops instead, were some of the questions asked by the listeners.
Briercliffe’s topic about the international global industry may have given the attendees hope to continue for the next season. By strengthening the audiences’ resolve he sort to provide examples of leadership in times of crisis. “Lead from the heart but think quickly about how your business can react to the changing market. Remain constant to the purpose of your product in this time of crisis, and that is to provide beauty into people’s homes.”
Briercliffe referred to data sheets, which AIPH has collated that scientifically proves the psychological importance of floriculture to people’s health and wellbeing. This information is critical in highlighting the role that ornamental plants and flowers can have in improving the health of citizens. With many Indonesians now staying at home, there have arisen new opportunities to create a new culture of using flowers and plants in the home.
He also reminded the audience that the health and safety of staff should be uppermost in their minds when they reevaluate the challenges of preventing Covid-19 spreading in the workplace. Measures for all aspects of the chain must be in place to give confidence back to the customers.
Moving forward with the longer-term view, Briercliffe inspired the audience to reimagine their business, to look for new opportunities through social media to tell their stories; and, online, to create an e-commerce for their products.
He added: “The concept of Green City now has a renewed relevance that the industry can build on to develop new business for the future.”
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