Russian flower market depends on import

The association Greenhouses of Russia have concluded that prices on imported flowers increase because of the delivery cost growth. First of all it is related to the produce from Kenia and Latin America. Another factor influencing the price growth is the increase of gas cost in Europe, in view of which growers in the Netherlands decided to save on greenhouses and decrease production acreage.

The imported tulips have grown 30% in wholesale prices, according to the calculations by the service FLOWWOW. The delivery costs of the blooming produce have doubled in relation to the last year. It may seem that the issues with the imported produce open new possibilities for Russian growers however they are calculating potential losses.

The executive director of GC Podosinki, a member of the association Greenhouses of Russia, Ms. Irina Zemtsova forecasts gross revenue decrease for International Women’s Day. The expert doubts that is will be possible to regain the profit that was decreased due to the drop of demand caused by the pandemics.

According to the general director of Technologii Rosta company Ms. Tamara Reshetnikova, there was a gap in the superfresh segment in 2020. Fewer flowers were sold but due to the price increase, it was possible to retain the overall numbers money-wise. “In 2021 the prices have increased by another 15% and it is not the limit”, shares Ms. Tamara Reshetnikova.

Russian flower market is one of the most import dependent ones. The share of the imported produce depends on the region and flower variety comprises 85%-100%. For instance, Lisianthus that are gaining popularity in Russia are not grown locally at all. Even roses and tulips that are successfully produced in the country are in critical dependence on the imported planting material.

Ms. Reshetnikova notes that being different from other market segments with a high ratio of import replacement, nothing has changed in flower business within the last 8-10 years. Tulip production is the only segment where the import share has decreased. “It is practically the only direction that has shown stable growth within the past years. Russian tulips can compete with the Dutch ones. There appeared a lot of greenhouse complexes growing tulips for the cut flower production and engaged in interregional logistics”, underlines the expert. According to the growers, tulips are easy flowers. The growing process and the amount of investments it requires are feasible even for small growers: unheated greenhouse without supplemental lighting will suffice. On the other hand, roses, gerberas and chrysanthemums can be grown only in heated greenhouses with acclimate control. The only issue that tulip growers face is purchasing the bulbs abroad. The attempts to cultivate bulbs locally end in the plants losing the flower qualities in a couple of years.

Apart from a short period in March-April when tulips reign on flower shops, roses are popular all year round but the requirements to their qualities change.

“Ten years ago South African rose with its tall straight stem and a big flower of red or crimson color were on top. Currently, the demand has shifted towards other varieties, with smaller but more interestingly colored flowers and vivid aroma”.

Lisianthus, gerberas, bushy chrysanthemums and tulips compete with the roses. “Overall we witness a more democratic approach to flower choice. A meter-long bouquet gives way to a smaller, more intimate one in pastel colors. The latter are most often chosen by the younger generation. However, bouquet shaping depends largely on the availability of freshly cut produce in the market. It is fine in Moscow and Saint Petersburg but is rather limited in most Russian cities”, claims Ms. Reshetnikova.

Russian growers have learned to grow roses quite successfully. Contemporary rose nurseries with good flower quality are located next to Moscow (Podosinki), Adygea, Mordovia, Belgorod region. Greenhouse technologies allow growing everything, yet it is costly. In Buryatia the is the only greenhouse complex in Russia, yet a tiny one, producing potted orchids quite compatible with the ones imported from Poland and the Netherlands. There are also several examples of gerberas and lilies grown on very small acreages.

“It is a lot cheaper to grow flowers in the open field in South America or Africa than in greenhouses where the electricity costs and the cost of construction itself are pretty high. The biggest problem of local producers is that own cost of Russian flowers is not compatible with that of African and South American produce”, concluded Ms. Reshetnikova.


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