The Dutch Floriculture sector The floriculture sector is gaining by forrests


									The Dutch Floriculture sector The floriculture sector is gaining in importance throughout the world. Flower production is burgeoning in many countries. There has also been broad expansion in international trade. Sales are largely centred on markets with strong purchasing power, like Europe, the USA and Japan. The Netherlands is a major player in this sector, both in production and distribution. Dutch flower auctions play an intermediary role between the Dutch growers and the wholesale trade. Foreign flowers and plants are increasingly sold at auction in the Netherlands in addition to domestic products. The Dutch Floriculture sector The cultivation of flowers and plants accounts for only around 4% of horticultural land use in the Netherlands. However, floriculture under glass is extremely intensive. Thus the floriculture sector generates over EUR 3000,000,000 - half of the total production value of Dutch horticulture. Gradual economies of scale and movement from mass market products to exclusive flowers and plants can further increase the production value. The rapid expansion in the market for flowers and plants has induced many vegetable growers to switch to floriculture. In fact, they often opt to grow flowers for the cut flower market. Cut flower growers in turn are moving into the production of pot plants. This trend has led to a further increase in the share of the Dutch floriculture sector in the total production value of Dutch horticulture. At least 70% of Dutch production is exported. The Netherlands is thus a world-class player. It also dominates the market in the cultivation of starting material. Dutch cuttings and young plants find their way into all the flower-growing countries in the world. International hub Other key players in ornamental floriculture can be found in Africa, South America and the Far East. These countries have only started to grow ornamentals in the last few decades.

Dutch floriculture in the international context in thousand millions EUR Dutch share World UE Netherlands in the world in the UE Cut flowers 3.5 2.4 2.0 58% 85% Pot plants 1.7 1.5 0.9 53% 59% Source: Productschap Tuinbouw (Commodity Board for Horticulture) Number of businesses 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Growers

- floriculture under glass 7,673 7,399 7,177 7,002 6,874 6,781 - floriculture, open ground 3,129 3,089 2,963 2,740 2,618 2,492 Exporters 1,449 1,388 1,414 1,367 1,296 Source: Central Bureau of Statistics via Commodity Board for Horticulture Area in hectares 1980 1990 1997 1998 1999 ‘98/’99 +/- in % Floriculture under glass 4,041 5,283 5,825 6,009 6,237 3.8% - cut flowers 2,934 3,593 3,645 3,640 3,757 3.2% - pot plants 554 984 1,144 1,180 1,251 6.0% Floriculture, open ground 1,204 2,103 2,416 2,432 2,605 7.1% Source: Commodity Board for Horticulture (In combination with the previous table, this shows the increase in the size of the average business) Production value of Dutch floriculture crops in billions of euros 1980 1990 1997 1998 1999 ‘98/’99 +/- in % 1,104 2,396 3,086 3,245 3,259 0% Source: Commodity Board for Horticulture Jobs in Dutch floriculture, 1999 Production 37,000 Auctions 4,500 Delivery firms 6,000 Wholesalers/exporters 16,000 Retail trade 22,500 Source: Commodity Board for Horticulture

Dutch producers of starting material and cut flower growers have often contributed to the development of the sector in these countries. A substantial proportion of world horticultural production finds its way to the customer through auctions in the Netherlands. Tons of Asiatic, African, and South American flowers and other plants are flown into Schiphol (Amsterdam airport) every day. The great majority is destined for through transport. In this way the Dutch flower auctions serve as the hub for around half of the world production of flowers and plants. Prices set here are often adopted as guide prices for international trade. The Dutch wholesalers who re-export the imported flowers and plants often provide added value. They have bouquets made up to the specifications of the customers and provide the flowers with labels and special sleeves. The supply of foreign flowers and plants is extremely important for Dutch wholesalers and exporters. They are well aware that customers want to make a selection from a complete range. However, there are certain periods when Dutch growers cannot supply particular products, but foreign growers often can, because of their completely different

climatological conditions. Together they ensure that the broad range required for trade and export is available all year round. The Netherlands also plays an important role in supplying the world-wide ornamental flower market. Our supply industry – often extremely specialised and well-equipped – not only serves Dutch ornamental horticulture, but also exports its products and know-how to the world. Dutch glasshouse construction companies, for example, operate on all continents. Their activities are often turnkey projects. Dutch climate control, computerisation and mechanisation systems can be found all over the world. Biological crop protection products are also finding their way to floriculture companies world-wide. Specialisation The main centres of production are situated in the west of the Netherlands, in the area around Schiphol airport and in the greenhouse district, Westland, between the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam. Flowers and plants are largely produced by family firms, in which the owner plays an active role. As a rule, the growers do not sell their products themselves, but are affiliated to one of the flower auctions. The auctions concentrate supply and demand in the same location to ensure problemfree sales. This leaves the growers entirely free to concentrate on production. This has led to far-reaching specialisation at the nurseries themselves. This specialisation relates largely to the selection of crops. By growing only one crop, or sometimes even just one variety or cultivar, growers can optimise their production. More market is not less government For decades the government has provided support for the horticulture sector particularly through education, research and information services. For example there is state participation in horticulture research stations. Now policy has changed and is geared to setting standards and conditions to enable the horticulture sector to optimise production. The standards and conditions relate to matters such as quality, the environment, crop protection, nature and landscape, welfare and working conditions. The government still continues to encourage innovation in the sector. The Dutch government is also keen to remove all types of barriers to international trade, such as phytosanitary measures. The production of floriculture crops Cut flower growing under glass The production of cut flowers under glass is the largest sector in floriculture with a production value of over EUR 2 thousand million and covering an area of 3,757 hectares (1999 figures). The major cut flower crops are roses, flowers grown from bulbs, chrysanthemums, freesias and gerberas. A full assortment of other cut flowers is also grown. Roses

Roses are the most important flowers in the cut flower range. This applies both to the cultivated land area and exports. Because of the heavy demands placed on the soil by rose crops, cut roses are largely grown on rock wool mats through which the dosing of water and fertilisers can be fully controlled. Year-round chrysanthemums Although chrysanthemums typically bloom in autumn, they can now be grown all year round in the Netherlands thanks to protective installations and lighting. The entire stem of the chrysanthemum is harvested after which the plants are sorted, cut to length and wrapped either in the glasshouse or in the processing room. The chrysanthemums are then packed in boxes for transportation to the auction. Gerberas After roses and tulips, gerberas are the main Dutch export crop in cut flowers. Growing in open ground has given way to growing on rock wool mats. Gerberas are harvested by detaching the flower stems from the plants. After sorting the flower stems are suspended in cardboard racks in a water container to take up as much water as possible before being packed in boxes for transportation to the auction. Freesias The Netherlands is the only country which grows freesias for export. This bulbous plant is grown year-round in beds. Uniquely, the plants are grown in (slightly) heated glasshouses, but the soil is cooled for optimum flower development. Bulbs The Netherlands has a reputation to maintain as an exporter of flower bulbs. However, not all bulbs leave the country. A quarter is retained for the production of cut flowers. Cut flower growing in open ground (summer flowers) As the name suggests, summer flowers are a typically seasonal product. This group of cut flowers includes helianthus (sunflower), delphinium, gladiolus, anemone, antirrhinum, lysianthus, carthamus, matricaria and trachelium. Often these are grown in the open ground. However, summer flowers are also grown in polytunnels to extend the growing season at either end. The cultivation of some of these flowers has been removed to the glasshouse so that the flowers can be produced over a much longer period. As a result, much of the summer flower production can scarcely be distinguished from ‘normal’ cut flower production. Pot plant cultivation In the Netherlands pot plants are grown largely under glass. They are divided into foliage and flowering plants. Foliage plants are those which derive their ornamental value from the green or coloured foliage, while the flower provides the ornamental value in the flowering plants.

Foliage plants Foliage plants make up 40% of Dutch pot plant production. The most important of these is the ficus, with an auction turnover of EUR 12.7 million. That represents a good 6% of the total pot plants supplied to the auctions. Other important foliage pot plants in the Netherlands are Dracaena, Hedera, Schefflera and palms. Smaller-sized foliage plants, such as the small Ficus, Draceaena marginata, Hedera and Nephrolepis are often grown on moveable growing tables. Operations such as potting up and processing for auction can thus be carried out in the processing rooms at the front of the nursery. The glasshouses are used exclusively for cultivation. Larger pot plants are grown on concrete floors or anti-rooting sheeting. Flowering plants In flowering plants the shape and colour of the flower determine ornamental value. These are usually herbaceous plants and do not grow as tall as the (woody) foliage plants. Among the important flowering pot plants are Kalanchoë, Phalaenopsis (orchid), Dendranthema (potted chrysanthemum), Spatyphillum, gerberas and roses grown in pots, Begonia, Cyclamen, Saint-Paulia, Primula and Hortensia. These are largely cultivated on growing tables. Taller flowering plants such as Hortensia and larger-sized Euphorbia pulcherima (poinsettia) are grown on concrete floors or anti-rooting cloths. Hydroponics A proportion of pot plants are grown hydroponically particularly for interior planting in offices and similar uses. The plants stand in pots of fired clay granules, which can absorb a lot of water. One great advantage of this system is that the plants get a large water buffer, which need only be topped up once per month. Young plants for hydroponic cultivation are raised on phenol foam or rooted directly into the clay granules. Some are started in potting compost. Before transplanting the roots of these plants are rinsed clean of any compost which could be transferred to the clay granules. Summer-flowering annuals Summer-flowering annuals (bedding plants) are a special group in pot plant cultivation. Unlike most pot plants, they are not intended for indoor use, but for gardens, balconies and patios. Bedding plants are grown at a particular time of year. Specialist bedding plants growers follow these with pot plant or cut flower crops, depending on the growing method (with or without growing tables). In other nurseries bedding plants are often grown as an intermediate crop, and sometimes in a separate part of the nursery bedding plants like Petunia, Ageratum, Tagetes and Impatiens which are sold through the auctions, are grown in sets. Bedding plant cuttings are often grown in pots. Plant starting material The production of starting material for flower crops is an important part of Dutch floriculture. It is carried out in special nurseries, which often form part of a larger plant-breeding business. In 1999 the total production value of plant starting material was over EUR 450 million. Dutch starting material

is sent all over the world. Around a third of all Dutch starting material production is exported (EUR 150 million). Starting material for cut flowers Starting material for cut flower cultivation is often obtained by vegetative propagation. Specialist plant-breeders raise starting material, for example for rose growing, on behalf of the rose propagation companies. In addition to traditional propagation using rootstocks, roses are also propagated from cuttings or by grafting. In the latter method a rose cultivar is grafted onto an unrooted cutting of a rootstock cultivar. This prevents the transmission of soil diseases. Starting material for chrysanthemums and carnations in the form of unrooted cuttings comes from cutting suppliers. These cuttings come from nurseries in the tropics and subtropics, where high-quality cuttings can be produced all year round. Starting material for Gerbera and Anthurium growing is produced by tissue culture. Although the cultivars concerned were often originally developed in the Netherlands, propagation from cuttings is often carried out in other countries. As soon as small plantlets are produced by tissue culture, they are grown on in rockwool plugs. This facilitates transplantation to rockwool mats. Starting material for many other cut flowers is also produced in the Netherlands in young plant nurseries, serving both the Dutch and international markets. Starting material for pot plants Flowering pot plants are mainly propagated from cuttings. There are a number of varieties which are propagated from seed, such as Cyclamen and Primula. Starting material for cultivation often comes from specialist propagation companies, although there are growers who take their own cuttings or sow their own seed. Starting material for foliage pot plants largely consists of cuttings. Often the growers do their own propagation. Since many foliage pot plants originate from tropical regions, a lot of the starting material is imported from Southern Europe, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa, Australia or Asia.Bedding plants are mainly propagated from seed. Only the ‘more expensive’ bedding plants, like Pelargonium (geranium), Osteospermum and trailing petunias are propagated from cuttings. Growers generally get their bedding plant propagation material from nurseries specialising in young plants. They in turn get the necessary seed from the plant-breeding companies. Plant breeding The growth of the floriculture sector is often ascribed to the modernisation of products and production methods. Plant-breeding companies make a significant contribution to these innovations. Plant breeding for floriculture crops is very specialised work. Because of the very high costs entailed, it is mainly carried out by large,

internationally-oriented companies. Research into new varieties and initial breeding takes place in the Netherlands, but the cuttings and seeds are often produced in tropical or subtropical countries. The Netherlands has a long history of plant breeding for floriculture. Many plant-breeding companies were originally established in the region around Enkhuizen (to the west of the IJsselmeer). There are also a large number of companies in the Netherlands which specialise in breeding floriculture crops by means of vegetative propagation. These companies are established mainly in the Westland and the Aalsmeer regions. Many foreign flower seed breeding companies also have establishments here, owing to the importance of the Dutch market. Many others collaborate with Dutch plant-breeding companies. Plant breeders’ rights To defray the high costs of plant breeding for floriculture, it is important for the breeders to be compensated for their efforts through royalties and licences. Plant breeders’ rights can be obtained in over forty countries for new varieties created by plant breeding, though this does not always apply to ornamentals. Title to these rights falls to the breeder. Almost all the countries offering plant breeders’ rights are affiliated to the ‘Union International pour la Protection des Obtentions Végétales’ (UPOV) in Geneva. This organisation issues guidelines to member states for legislation on plant breeders’ rights and the evaluation of applications. For a right to be granted, the variety must meet four main criteria: it must be a new variety, it must differ from previously commercially traded varieties, it must be homogeneous and the specific characteristics of the plant must be retained in successive generations. A plant breeders’ right gives the owner of the variety the exclusive right to propagate, produce and market the variety. Third parties can be issued with a licence (in return for payment) to produce and sell propagation material, or to grow it on into an end product. The Dutch government supervises compliance with plant breeders’ rights. The plant breeding companies also monitor the marketing of illegally-bred products by producers in the Netherlands and beyond. Commercial equipment Glasshouse construction The glasshouse protects against the weather and makes it possible to control the climate. Dutch glasshouse companies have a very extensive knowledge base and a great deal of international experience. For decades they have led the world in the design, construction and appointment of glasshouses. Their designs take account of the climate and the quantity of light. The sector also supplies heating and cooling systems, watering systems and climate control systems, so that the climate inside the glasshouse can be almost completely controlled.

There are two major types of glasshouse: the Venlo and the wide-span models. The method of cultivation largely determines which type of glasshouse is more suitable. The lower-growing the crops, the greater the growing area required. Growers of breeding material and pot plants opt for the wide-span while flower and vegetable growers prefer the Venlo type. Robots and computer systems Although flower growing still requires a great deal of manual labour, the far-reaching specialisation of the Dutch floriculture sector has ensured that companies can mechanise a large part of the growing process. Internal transportation and processing of cut flowers is to a large extent computercontrolled and performed by robots. Dutch companies lead the way in the development and production of the necessary systems and equipment such as horticulture computer systems, transport systems, potting machines, planting robots, mobile growing tables, cold stores and sorting and bunching machines. Many of these are sold throughout the world. Potting compost Potting compost is produced in the Netherlands by specialist companies. Growers therefore do not need to make their own potting compost and always have access to compost of the highest quality. The potting compost companies buy large quantities of river clay, peat, sphagnum peat and natural fibres. Only some of these raw materials are sourced in the Netherlands. Many are imported from northern and eastern Europe (turf and peat) and subtropical and tropical countries (rice hulls, coir). These raw materials can be used to make up the ideal compost mixture for each cultivation. The quality of Dutch potting compost is monitored by a special organisation: the Stichting Rijks Handelsregeling Potgronden (Potting compost trade regulations organisation, RHP). Products approved by the RHP meet the highest chemical and physical requirements and are free of weeds and disease. Other production materials Most of the other materials used by the floriculture sector, such as rockwool mats, fertilisers, crop protection products, pots, trays, wrapping and films are sold by specialist horticulture suppliers. These suppliers are often based in the centre of the various flower-growing areas or even in the flower auctions. A large number of these products are also produced in the Netherlands and are often exported world-wide. Sales Auctions

The auctions form the main link between the grower and the trade in flowers and plants. Most growers in the Netherlands do not sell their products direct, but are affiliated to one of the flower auctions. Only 8% of Dutch production is sold directly by growers to the trade. The auctions are in fact growers’ cooperatives. This makes the growers coowners. Membership of an auction obliges growers to sell all their production through the auction. As a result the auctions concentrate supply and demand of flowers and plants in the same area. After the auction the products are redistributed by wholesalers and exporters. Auction clock The auction clock is still the primary means of trade at the auctions. The flowers and plants are displayed in front of the auction clock. This system has recently been linked to computer sales, where the buyer sees the product for sale on the screen. The auction clock works on the price reduction principle, whereby the price goes downwards and the product is sold to the first buyer to respond. Despite the advent of other sales methods the price set by the auction clock is the determining factor for the pricing of flowers and plants at home and abroad Intermediaries The auctions also act as intermediaries between wholesalers and growers for immediately available lots. Advance sales of floriculture products by this method are also growing in importance. Electronic sales have recently been introduced in which the cultivated product no longer passes physically through the auction: instead the auction just offers the electronic infrastructure of the sale. This system enables growers and wholesalers to respond to product supply and demand. Imports The Netherlands’ central role in the distribution of flowers and plants is also manifest in the fact that many foreign producers choose to sell their products through the Dutch flower auctions and wholesale trade, despite the high transport costs. All the major imported flowers are now supplied year-round. The supply only drops off in the summer months when there is a larger supply of Dutch cut flowers. The main imports are roses, carnations, Solidago and Hypericum. A lot of cut foliage, such as fern fronds, is also imported. Foreign suppliers must be affiliated In order to supply to the auction. Imported flowers must also meet the same quality criteria as the Dutch products. Exporters and wholesalers Almost three-quarters of all Dutch production of flowers and plants is exported. The main export markets in Europe are Germany, France and Great Britain. Other important European markets are Italy, Belgium,

Switzerland and Austria. The Eastern European markets are also expanding. Dutch exporters also serve remote destinations such as the United States, Japan and the Middle East. In the destination countries most Dutch floriculture products are sold to florists, garden centres and market and street traders, sometimes through the local wholesale trade. Sales through supermarkets and DIY centres are also growing in significance. Logistics The majority of Dutch flowers and plants are sold within Europe. For this reason most of the products are transported by road. The lorries are ‘temperature controlled’, to maintain optimum product quality. All flowers and plants arrive at the auction in one of two standard rolling containers: ‘Danish containers’ and auction containers. These containers are designed for easy loading onto lorries. The containers are also used for internal transport at the auctions. Rail transport is increasingly used for longer distances within Europe. Special trains carry fresh products to Italy and Russia, for example. Air transport is also gaining in importance, particularly for cut flower exports. This is mainly because Dutch exporters have access to remote markets, like Russia, Japan and the United States. Many imported plants also arrive in the Netherlands by air, from countries such as Israel, Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador. Promotion of floriculture products The marketing and promotion organisation for Dutch flowers, plants and starting material is the Flower Council of Holland (BBH). The Commodity Board for Horticulture funds horticulture promotions from levies paid by all growers, so the Flower Council concentrates of the promotion of floriculture products. The Flower Council analyses markets and maintains continuous contact with domestic and foreign market players and organisations in order to assist production and trade. The Flower Council also sets up and implements marketing and promotion schemes. It runs promotions such as advertising, participation in trade fairs, public awareness campaigns, sales promotions, trade support and public relations on both the national and international floriculture markets. Policy and implementation are managed from its headquarters in Leiden. The Flower Council also has offices in important export countries: Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy. Their task is to implement activities and maintain contacts with numerous target groups, including traders and the press. Flower Council of Holland Project Office The Flower Council of Holland Project Office runs marketing and promotion projects on a semi-commercial basis for companies and organisations in the floriculture chain. These specific projects are distinct from the more general activities of the Flower Council and are based on

custom work for collaborating market players. The Project Office works with wholesalers and exporters, retailers, growers, breeders and propagators. Various product promotion projects are run in cooperation with growers or growers’ organisations, breeders and/or auctions. These relate to products such as bromeliads, flowering plants, poinsettias and carnations. Turnover of Dutch flower auctions in EUR millions (including imports) Cut flowers 1998 1999 +/- % Aalsmeer Flower Auction (VBA) 894 884 -1.1 Holland Flower Auction (BVH) 769 766 -0.4 Flora Auction (incl. Eelde) 350 356 1.6 South-East Netherlands Auction (ZON) 39 43 East Netherlands Auction (VON) 18 18 0.2 Vleuten Flower Auction 16 16 -0.1


Pot plants 1998 1999 +/- % Aalsmeer Flower Auction (VBA) 369 374 1.4 Holland Flower Auction 306 324 5.7 Flora Auction (incl. Eelde) 18 17 -5.0 South-East Netherlands Auction (ZON) 15 17 14.0 East Netherlands Auction (VON) 15 15 -1.1 Vleuten Flower Auction 5 5 -4.4 Source: Association of Dutch Flowers Auctions (VBN) The environment Consumers are increasingly concerned with environmental issues. In 1991 the Dutch government set up the Multi-Year Crop Protection Plan. This sets out Dutch crop protection policy up to and including the year 2000. The agriculture sector entered into an agreement with the government in 1993 in which the agriculture sector endorsed the objectives and terms of reference of the multi-year plan. The plan has three objectives: reducing the scale of use of chemical crop protection products, reducing dependency on them and reducing the emissions they cause. Floriculture environmental programme The Dutch Floriculture Environmental Project (MPS) has been running since 1995 with the aim of reducing dependency on chemical crop protection products. It is a certification system in which participants register environmental data, such as energy consumption, use of pesticides and fertilisers and the sorting of waste. The aim of the system is to minimise environmental pollution in horticulture. Growers participating in the programme often use integrated crop protection, in which natural predators (parasitic wasps, predatory bugs and mites, galflies, nematodes and bacterial preparations) are used to control insect pests. The use of chemical crop protection products is kept to a

minimum, to avoid disturbing the biological equilibrium between useful and harmful insects. The registration data is used to assign businesses to one of three environmental grades: A, B or C. Currently 3600 nurseries are taking part in the project: 3300 in the Netherlands, 154 in Belgium and 90 in Israel. The other participants are based in Denmark and east and southern Africa. Those with the MPS-A certifications are the most environmentally aware. Over two thirds of the participating nurseries have this qualification. The programme is not only concerned with environmental considerations: social factors such as safety, health and working conditions also play an important role. Wholesalers and retailers also participate in the programme. Environmental inspection of flowers and plants A certification scheme for flowers and plants is being set up in collaboration with the eco-labelling organisation Stichting Milieukeur. If MPS participants want to use the Dutch eco-label (Milieukeur) they have to meet the requirements of the certification system. MPS-A businesses have been able to apply for the eco-label since 1997. The eco-label is based on MPS registrations, but growers must also fulfil additional criteria set by the Stichting Milieukeur, such as a ban on the use of a number of crop protection products, and maximum energy consumption levels. Energy Energy is in an important production and cost factor in horticulture, particularly in glasshouse horticulture. One of the principal energyconsuming facilities in a glasshouse is the heating unit. This provides the desired growing temperature in the glasshouse, so that the crop can achieve the highest possible production of the desired quality. Hot water boiler Hot water boilers are the most common method of heating glasshouses. The boiler is heated by a burner running on gas or light or heavy oil. The capacity of boiler required depends, among other things, on the amount of heat needed to achieve the desired maximum glasshouse temperature in relation to the minimum outside temperature. The heat is distributed via a network of heating pipes or hoses to all parts of the glasshouse. The heat emission of the boiler is regulated by a computerised climate control system which ensures that energy is only used when the crop demands. Combined heat and power plant Nurseries requiring a lot of electricity for assimilation lighting during the winter months use combined heat and power plants. These drive a gaspowered generator which produces electricity. The cooling water from the generator can be used to heat the glasshouse.

A hot-water storage tank offers a solution to the different amounts of electricity and heat required at different times. The warm cooling water is stored in a well-insulated heat storage tank, to be used whenever heat is required. CO2 administration In order to grow, plants need CO2 and water, which are turned by sunlight into sugars and oxygen. To raise the CO2 level in the glasshouse, the grower can administer CO2 from the purified combustion gases from the boiler or combined heat and power plant. The crop needs less heating during the day. Surplus heat is stored in the heat storage tank and used to heat the glasshouse at night. Multi-Year Energy Agreement (MJA-E) The Dutch horticulture industry is increasingly energy-efficient. Four horticulture sectors have entered into a multi-year agreement with the government to save energy. These are the glasshouse horticulture sector, the flower bulb sector, the mushroom sector and the fruit and vegetable processing industry. Achieving energy savings requires a great deal of expertise, and that costs money. A levy has been introduced for this purpose. The levy is added onto the bills sent out by the energy distribution companies. The energy company then transfers the money to the Commodity Board for Horticulture. The sectors referred to above, through the committees of the Commodity Board, decide which energy-saving projects they wish to fund. Funding from the industry is linked to government contributions in the multi-year energy agreement. Knowledge and research Knowledge and research are important cornerstones of Dutch horticultural development. Horticultural research takes place on three levels in the Netherlands: pure, strategic and applied. Knowledge obtained from research is disseminated via study clubs and via the relevant educational institutions. In addition there are private consultancy firms who carry out commissioned research. Their findings are available only to their clients. Pure research Pure horticultural research is carried out at the University of Wageningen. The departments most concerned with horticulture are the Plant Sciences Department and the Crop Protection and Plant Breeding Department. Research is also conducted at Wageningen into economic, business and marketing aspects which play a role in horticulture. Strategic research In Wageningen various research institutes and the university work together under the title of UR (University & Research) Wageningen. This is where the strategic research is carried out.

Strategic research on horticulture is conducted by the Agrotechnological Research Institute, ATO, Plant Research International and the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, IMAG. The ATO carries out research on maintaining quality in agricultural production chains. The research done at Plant Research International encompasses plant genetics, propagation, plant physiology, agrisystems, soil fertility, crop protection, crop ecology and optimising plant health and product quality. IMAG’s horticultural research work is aimed at achieving an optimum climate in glasshouses and other production spaces. Practical Plant Research Organisation From 2001 applied plant research in the Netherlands will be brought together under the Practical Plant Research Organisation, PPO. The glasshouse horticulture strand of this organisation works for the cut flower, pot plant and glasshouse vegetable sector. The PPO has research establishments in Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk, Horst and Klazienaveen, where work is carried out in modern, well-equipped glasshouse complexes. In addition the PPO has laboratories, cold stores and climatic test chambers, different areas of expertise to support research and facilities for light measurement, substrate and nutrient research. The PPO’s clients are the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries and the Commodity Board for Horticulture, which represents the private sector. Individual companies and organisations can also commission paid research. Exchange of knowledge Most Dutch cut flower and pot plant growers are affiliated, through the regional organisations, to the Plant Production Information Service (LTO Groeiservice), a member organisation of the Dutch Federation of Agricultural and Horticultural Organisations (LTO Nederland). This service organises information evenings, excursions, courses and workshops on all aspects of the business. These cover cultivation subjects such as variety selection, climate control and integrated plant protection, but also business subjects like cash flow, personnel and information management and market-oriented production. The growers not only receive information from experts, but also exchange their own knowledge and experience. Many growers find this exchange of information a valuable source of technical knowledge. The Plant Production Information Service also supports groups of growers. Often these growers work together on a project basis, for example on the development of technology, applied research or product promotion. In such cases the Plant Production Information Service can, for example, write the project proposal, apply for a subsidy and provide the management or organisational support of the project. The Plant Production Information Service maintains contacts with a network of growers through excursion groups, regional working groups and national committees. It has thus amassed a vast amount of practical

knowledge. On this basis the Plant Production Information Service represents the growers in negotiations and consultations with researchers, information services, suppliers and buyers. Private consultancy In addition to the Plant Production Information Service, which is aimed primarily at sector-wide exchange of knowledge, there are private consultancy firms that often work exclusively for a single client. As a result of increasing professionalisation and competition in floriculture, growers and dealers are turning to these consultancy firms more and more often. Their operations are not confined to the Netherlands: they often provide advisory services to foreign companies. Practical courses The Horticulture Department of the IPC (Innovation and Practice Centre) in Ede provides supplementary and specialist education for the horticulture branch and for heating and cooling system installers. This organisation provides courses and training programmes not only in the Netherlands but all over the world. Foreign students often come to the Horticulture Department. Courses are also run ‘on location’ in the student’s working environment. A very important aim of the courses is to enable the participants to reap immediate benefits from directly applicable knowledge. The Horticulture Department runs innovative projects in which the latest technological developments are translated into education. The Horticulture Department of IPC Plant runs a number of international projects and provides guidance and supervision for others. International Agricultural Centre The International Agricultural Centre (IAC) in Wageningen is an independent non-profit organisation, allied to the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries. IAC’s main aim is to contribute to the quality of projects and programmes within the framework of cooperation with developing countries and countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The main duties of the IAC are to hold international courses for professionals, mainly from developing countries, to contribute to courses abroad, to advise on programmes and projects for the benefit of developing countries, to mediate in individual study programmes for researchers and to mediate in the deployment of experienced (agricultural) experts to work on projects in developing countries. Quality Quality is a prime concern in the trade and export of horticulture products. Monitoring of compliance with health and quality regulations of starting material and propagating material (seeds, small plants and trees) in horticulture is carried out

by an independent organisation: Naktuinbouw, the Inspection Service for Horticulture. Around 5,000 producers of starting material are affiliated to the organisation. They operate it through elected representatives. Producers of propagating material themselves have on-going responsibility for the quality of their products. The Inspection Service for Horticulture oversees the operational management of affiliated businesses. These are plant breeders, propagators, traders and growers. By means of a system of regular sampling the Inspection Service for Horticulture inspectors check for trueness to variety, purity of variety, health and external quality of the material. Products which meet the requirements may be traded. Phytosanitary inspection The Plant Protection Service (PD) is responsible for excluding, combating and controlling pests and diseases in the plant sector. The purpose is to promote sustainable, competitive and safe agriculture and horticulture and to facilitate trade. The prevention or suppression of pests and diseases can significantly improve the smooth-running of trade. The PD’s duties include the inspection of imported agricultural products from countries outside the EU, the inspection of agricultural products for export to countries outside the EU, tracing, combating and controlling pests and diseases, the study of crop protection products and advisory services. The Inspection Service for Horticulture also carries out phytosanitary inspections, under supervision of the PD. On the basis of such an inspection The Inspection Service for Horticulture can issue plant passports to businesses, a phytosanitary certificate valid throughout the European Union. The EU determines which crops require plant passports. Trade Associations In the Netherlands there are various organisations which protect the interests of the various branches of business within horticulture. Association of Contractors and Fitters in Glasshouse Horticulture The Association of Contractors and Fitters in Glasshouse Horticulture, AVAG, is the sector organisation of the Dutch glasshouse construction and installation sector. The association has around 40 members: glasshouse construction companies, system suppliers and technical systems installers. The work of AVAG consists of promoting the interests of its members. The AVAG develops many initiatives including the promotion of Green Label glasshouses, consultation on safety and working conditions in glasshouse construction and contributing to the preparation of the European glasshouse construction standard. AVAG is also one of the organisers of the Dutch Horticulture Trade Fair within the International Horticulture Fair. Ciopora Nederland

Ciopora Nederland represents the companies which breed starting material for ornamental floriculture using vegetative propagation techniques. The aim of the organisation is to protect the common interests of its members by making their views known at national and international level regarding the best possible breeders’ rights and/or patent protection on the varieties they have developed. LTO-Nederland The Glasshouse Construction Expert Group of the Dutch Federation of Agricultural and Horticultural Organisations (LTO-Nederland) promotes the interests of growers in glasshouse horticulture. The expert group seeks to influence government and politics when rules are being drawn up, with the aim of creating maximum scope for entrepreneurs in glasshouse horticulture. In addition LTO initiates projects, research and other activities to stimulate and support developments in the sector. Commodity Board for Horticulture The Commodity Board for Horticulture (PT) is the organisation in the Netherlands which unites all strata of horticulture. It represents the interests of growers, propagators, breeders, importers and exporters, manufacturers, auctions, horticulturists, retail and wholesale traders and their staff. The objective of the Horticulture Commodity Board, with the authority of the sector, is to improve the competitive position of Dutch horticulture on the international market. The PT works to benefit the whole sector. It is funded from levies raised jointly by all businesses in Dutch horticulture. This prevents a situation in which businesses benefit but have not contributed to the activities of the Commodity Board. The Board is managed by the horticulture sector itself. Organisations of growers, auctions, traders, manufacturers and employees form the management board. The board is a statutory sector organisation. The agreements which the PT concludes at national level apply to all horticulture businesses. Association of Dutch Flower Auctions (VBN) The Association of Dutch Flower Auctions (VBN) is the umbrella organisation of the Dutch flower auction cooperatives. As a representative of the auctions the VBN works closely with other ornamental horticulture organisations, such as the Commodity Board for Horticulture, the Dutch Federation of Agricultural and Horticultural Organisations and the Association of Dutch Wholesalers in Floricultural Products. In collaboration with the flower auctions the VBN runs projects in the field of logistics and quality. Examples include the introduction of the pool for cut flower containers and the packaging agreement, which reduces the amount of packaging used and increases the amount of material which is recycled. Association of Dutch Wholesalersin Floricultural Products

The Association of Dutch Wholesalers in Floricultural Products (VGB) protects the interests of wholesalers and exporters of flowers, plants and starting material for ornamental crops. The VGB holds talks with the flower auctions, suppliers, authorities and other organisations on behalf of its members. The association also serves as a knowledge centre for the wholesale flower trade. Dutch Floricultural Wholesale Board The Dutch Floricultural Wholesale Board is another knowledge centre for the wholesale flower trade. Its main tasks are to provide information on the branch, to disseminate knowledge and to serve as a hub, by offering mediation and other services. It also provides information on creditworthiness, export statistics and courses. All Dutch wholesalers are affiliated to the Board. Its activities are jointly funded from a percentage levied on the purchase value of their invoices. Trade fairs International Horticulture Fair The most important international trade fair in horticulture and horticultural supplies industries is the International Horticulture Fair, held annually in November at the RAI in Amsterdam. The fair came about through the fusion of the Dutch Horticulture Trade Fair (NTV) and the International Floriculture Trade Fair. Around 1,000 businesses present their latest products and services at the fair. They come from almost fifty different countries and present a complete picture of current and future developments in horticulture. The International Horticulture Fair offers everything in the field of growing techniques and it sets the tone for floriculture products, starting material, ornamental horticulture techniques and trade. It is therefore a must for every professional in ornamental floriculture.

Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries Department for Trade and Industry Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuurbeheer en Visserij Directie Industrie en Handel PO Box 20401 2500 EK The Hague The Netherlands T +31 70 378 68 68 F +31 70 378 61 23 The Association of Contractors and Fitters in Glasshouse Horticulture Algemene Vereniging van Aannemers en Installateurs in de Glastuinbouw (AVAG) PO Box 146

2690 AC ‘s-Gravenzande The Netherlands T +31 174 44 66 60 F +31 174 44 66 61 Agrotechnological Research Institute Instituut voor Agrotechnologisch Onderzoek ATO B.V. PO Box 17 6700 AA Wageningen The Netherlands T +31 317 47 50 00 F +31 317 47 53 47 Flower Council of Holland Bloemenbureau Holland Schipholweg 1 2316 XB Leiden The Netherlands T +31 71 565 95 65 F +31 71 565 95 55 Ciopora Nederland PO Box 1104 1430 BC Aalsmeer The Netherlands T +31 297 36 01 55 F +31 297 36 01 56 DLV Adviesgroep PO Box 7001 6700 CA Wageningen The Netherlands T +31 317 49 15 11 F +31 317 46 04 00 National Reference Centre for Agriculture Expertisecentrum LNV PO Box 482 6710 BL Ede The Netherlands T +31 318 67 14 00 F +31 318 62 47 37 Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering Instituut voor Milieu- en Agritechniek (IMAG) PO Box 43 6700 AA Wageningen The Netherlands T +31 317 47 63 00 F +31 317 42 56 70 International Agricultural Centre (IAC) PO Box 88 6700 AB Wageningen The Netherlands T +31 317 49 54 95 F +31 317 49 53 95 The International Flower Bulb Centre Internationaal Bloembollen Centrum (IBC) PO Box 172 2180 AD Hillegom The Netherlands T +31 252 51 52 54 F +31 252 52 26 92 Innovation and Practice Centre IPC Ede PO Box 32 6710 BA Ede The Netherlands T +31 318 69 71 11 F +31 318 63 44 72 LTO Groeiservice PO Box 1120 2280 CC Rijswijk The Netherlands T +31 70 414 18 81 F +31 70 414 18 60 Milieu Programma Sierteelt (MPS) PO Box 533 2675 ZT Honselersdijk The Netherlands

T +31 174 61 57 15 F +31 174 63 20 59 Inspection Service for Horticulture Nederlandse Algemene Kwaliteitsdienst Tuinbouw (NAKtuinbouw) PO Box 40 2370 AA Roelofarendsveen The Netherlands T +31 71 332 62 62 F +31 71 332 63 63 Nederlandse Vereniging van Plantenkwekers (NVP) PO Box 67 2600 AB Delft The Netherlands T +31 15 262 41 79 F +31 15 261 03 54 The Dutch Seed Trade Association Nederlandse Vereniging van Zaaizaad en Plantgoed (NVZP) PO Box 909 3700 AX Zeist The Netherlands T +31 30 693 31 35 F +31 30 693 29 51 Plant Protection Service Plantenziektenkundige Dienst PO Box 9012 6700 HC Wageningen The Netherlands T +31 317 49 69 11 F +31 317 42 17 01 Commodity Board for Horticulture Productschap Tuinbouw PO Box 280 2700 AG Zoetermeer The Netherlands T +31 79 347 07 07 F +31 79 347 04 04 Research Station for Floriculture and Glasshouse Vegetables Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente (PBG) Aalsmeer: Linnaeuslaan 2a 1431 JV Aalsmeer The Netherlands T +31 297 35 25 25 F +31 297 35 22 70 Vereniging van Bloemenveilingen in Nederland (VBN) PO Box 9324 2300 PH Leiden The Netherlands T +31 71 565 95 96 F +31 71 565 96 10 Vereniging van Groothandelaren in Bloemkwekerijproducten (VGB) PO Box 1104 1430 BC Aalsmeer The Netherlands T +31 297 38 02 02 F +31 297 36 03 09 Wageningen University and Research Centre PO Box 9101 6700 HB Wageningen The Netherlands T +31 317 48 44 72 F +31 317 48 48 84

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