Desperation at Autumn Fair in Naaldwijk, Netherlands

Breeders are seeing customers end their operations, the auction fears an exodus, and Glastuinbouw Nederland is sounding the alarm again and again. You only needed to look around the Autumn Fair in Naaldwijk, which took place on 7 and 8 September, for it to become clear why this is. Uncertainty and doubt have taken a hold on growers. Many of them just do not know what to do anymore.

An extensive photo report of the fair will follow, but here are a few snapshots. From top left and clockwise: Jan van der Sar and Diego Bruijn of Solid Plant Productions; Anita Kap of nursery Freek van der Velden; Mark van Velzen of BM Roses and Bert Rietberg, working for Boomkwekerij Hoekert and Edens Creations, two companies that from now on will continue under the name Edens Plant & Creations.

What does it all mean in practice? 'We no longer have promotions: place your order, and we'll give you the daily price eventually.' 'The bigger pot sizes are being phased out; there are just smaller ones and close together.' 'I have been selling the power from my solar panels. I should have stored it, then I could have kept going now.' 'The assortment is in the cooling, but setting up poinsettias soon? I don't see it happening.' 'We try to pass on our costs. I wouldn't know what else to do, but it gives us a lot of trouble.'

Normally, scarcity is good for trade, but now this is problematic as well. 'For now, we have a lot of orders, but whether that will continue is very much in doubt.' Customers are waiting to see which way the wind will blow, consumers will soon run out of money and will have to pay more, and that won't last long. I run a few garden centers and am here to see what the growers will do. We've had two lockdowns, but if we don't have any product soon, we are done for.'

Of course, people are keeping their cards close to the vest, but anyone who has been following the news knows that they are quite nervous. Growers of orchids are giving up, as are rose growers, and everything that needs extra heat and light in winter is now in question. One thing is certain, however: in 2023, horticulture will be very different from how it has been in the past decades.

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