Growers tell the media: very few tomatoes, and 'flower nurseries are in deep trouble'

In Belgium and the Netherlands, the greenhouse horticulture campaign to draw renewed attention to the effects of the energy crisis is well underway. Dutch growers have inundated that country's government with protest letters and have begun a petition. There are also plenty of articles in the general media about these growers' hardships. Here is an overview of those stories.

"Lately, we've been forced to grow fruit and vegetables with no water, and no electricity, and now also with no fertilizer," says Belgian strawberry grower Gert Reijnders, painting a bleak picture of the future. Last week, he heard he would no longer be getting CO2. The Belgian broadcaster, VRT, interviewed the grower about this, and TVL, another Belgian media outlet, too, ran a story.

"If we keep using lights, we might be bankrupt in two months," rose grower, Tom Meewisse, told the Dutch regional broadcaster RTV Rijnmond. The father and son team are shutting off the lights, leaving the greenhouse cold. And for the first time in the company's 40-year existence, they will be harvesting almost no roses this winter.

Kees van Egmond, a chamomile grower, has his say in the same article. The daily fluctuating gas prices shock him. "I dare not look at that anymore." He is going to push the limit and heat his plants a little. "I'm not giving up; I'm going to keep going," he says.

Amaryllis grower Peter Marinissen, too, is forging ahead (for now). I'll be signing a new energy contract in January," he told Dutch regional broadcaster Omroep Zeeland. "I think that will be it for me then. It doesn't bother me that much during the day when I'm busy. But at night? It keeps me awake. How can this continue?"

Beyond Chrysant',s Wouter Duijvesteijn delves into the crisis in the Dutch newspaper, Trouw. You can read the (paid) article here.

David van Tuijl and fellow grower Yorick Leeuwis spoke to the regional Omroep Gelderland too. Both grow chrysanthemums in the Netherlands. The high energy prices mean at least half of the Leeuwis family's greenhouse will stand empty this winter. You can read the article here.

Tomato growers can skip a crop and not plant, but for, say, rose growers, that is not an option. In NH Nieuws, Dutch growers warn they will be growing no or hardly any tomatoes this winter, so there will be very few tomatoes on the shelves.

Some growers, like Agro Care, can reckon on (own) imported tomatoes. However, not everyone is keen on imported tomatoes, knows Bas Eilander, this large tomato farm's branch director. "There are also always customers who specifically ask for Dutch tomatoes. Even if it's a Dutch company producing tomatoes in places like Africa, they still want local tomatoes. We'll have to disappoint those clients."

The article also shows the crisis' positive side. Growers have found they can cultivate far more energy-efficiently. Bas points out the switch to LED, as does LeMa Tomaten on Twitter.

We've all known for a long time that greenhouse horticulture is innovative. This winter, with these #energy prices, this is how LED lighting will light up the sky. All because a few growers dare to.  #energycrisis #innovation

— LEMA tomaten (@Lematomaten) September 6, 2022.

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