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“The journey to get to where we are today was challenging.”

Floriday recently spoke to Guido Zwart of Mount Elgon/Rose Handling Services about digitalization in the floriculture industry, the start of Floriday, and the current working method. 

Mount Elgon cultivates 43 hectares of roses, 200 hectares of avocados, and 2 hectares of summer flowers at the foot of Mount Elgon in Kenya. It is a genuine family business, where the fourth generation is currently in charge and the fifth generation is being readied. Mount Elgon has its own processing company in the Netherlands, Rose Handling Services, located on the Royal FloraHolland location in Rijnsburg. The incoming shipments from Kenya are processed daily at Rose Handling Services. It then makes all the preparations for the auction and handles the logistics of national and international orders.

Besides its passion for flowers, Mount Elgon is also focused on civil society in Kenya. Years ago, Mount Elgon established its own trust with which it supports civil society in Kenya, including its own orphanage and hospital, HIV testing centers, and a school for children with disabilities. It also attaches great importance to the climate-neutral production of its roses, by means of solar panels and a hydroelectric power station.

Digitization in the floriculture industry
“Of course something had to happen. The industry was working with outdated systems and more and more small systems were being developed around us. Which is of course not efficient for anyone. Sometimes you have to jointly move in a certain direction and it takes a deadline to get people on board. With the arrival of Floriday, we can work together as a cooperative which, hopefully, will ultimately strengthen the industry. But, getting to the point where we are now has been a long journey. Working towards a totally new way of working in a difficult (corona) year with a very tight deadline was not always pleasant. At Mount Elgon, we have taken this process very seriously from the start and we have done everything possible to comply with digital trading and the associated working methods. In the end, we are very happy with the excellent link between FreshPortal and Floriday and the functionalities that were developed recently, though it has not been without struggle.”

“We are ready for it”
“I think that there are still big steps to be taken on the buyers' side. On the supply side, a large part of it is reasonably under control and well organized. In our eyes, the buyers are not very involved yet. We see this in simple things such as the acceptance of corrections by buyers, while only one button needs to be pressed in Floriday. Fortunately, we can still arrange many things the “old” way if a customer is not yet ready for it. People tend to cling to old ways and practices, but it will help us all if we all move forward together. This will enable us to truly accelerate and take the next step. Whatever happens, we are ready for it." 

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