Focusing on quality, organizing their own sales, and starting the right partnerships have not particularly harmed Ancanfora Fiori. In recent years, production and sales have multiplied several times, and today, in particular, German consumers are treated to high-quality ranunculus and a variety of other cut flowers daily.
On the right: Nicola Pappacena
The history of Acanfora Fiori goes back several generations but started in its current form in 2008 by Tommasina Acanfora and Michele Pappacena. At three different locations in Campania, southern Italy, they primarily grow ranunculus but also different types of carnations, matthiola, and antirrhinum. In 2014, sons Nicola and Gennaro successively joined the business, and from then on thing really gained momentum.
"The modus operandi went quite astray," explains Nicola. From a grower within the group - sales was primarily organized through Del Gulfo - it was decided to scale up and take matters of export into their own hands. "We started supplying to wholesalers abroad directly, first through the intermediation of the auction in Holland but later to our customers in Germany and also in France directly. Today, all sales go through wholesalers exclusively, so there are no more links in between. Thus, without ever advertising or having a particular marketing strategy, turnover grew from 100,000 to 2.5 million euros in just over seven years."
Production equally grew and export abroad grew from several hundred thousand stems back then to over 7.5 million stems annually today. The variety has also increased. "To make this possible, we created strong partnerships with the long-established cooperative "La Partenopea" and with lifelong friends Pasquale and Luigi Cuciniello. Together, we try to target the market through joint cultivation planning."
From day one, growth has been primarily realized on the German market. "The start was not easy: Campania is the third or fourth largest production site of cut flowers in Europe, so there is a lot of competition. But in our region, we have been the first to reach out to customers abroad independently, i.e., without the intervention of wholesalers or exporters. German customers, in particular, seem to appreciate that, and with it a guarantee of freshness and a connection to the origin of the product."
Ranunculus is grown in greenhouses in volcanic soil, which is very nutrient-rich and, like, for example, perlite, drains perfectly. Water supply is abundant, there are many natural water resources in the area. In the near future, there are plans to build better rain storage facilities in order not to depend on natural resources in times of drought.
Building on trust
The season runs roughly from September through June, only in high summer operations are down for a few months. The first ranunculus come forth in October and are supplied through the first weeks of April. "For the coming years, we obviously hope to continue growing, but that is not the main focus. That is ensuring quality and securing lasting relationships with our most loyal customers. At the moment, moreover, there is more demand for our products than we can offer."
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