Dutch floral sector wilts due to virus

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing Dutch flower growers to compost millions of blooms during what should be the peak demand period, said the industry association.

These flowers at the auction in the town of Aalsmeer (above) were ready to be destroyed on Monday.

Royal FloraHolland warned that many of its members could go bankrupt within weeks, adding that flower prices have nearly halved.

"Last Friday, 20 per cent of the supply had to be destroyed because there were no buyers. Forecasts for the next weeks are even worse," said director Steven van Schilfgaarde.

This period is usually peak sea-son for flower sales because of Mother's Day celebrations in Britain and Ireland on March 22. Royal FloraHolland usually auctions 30 million plants a day worth about €8.8 million (S$14 million).

The industry employs 150,000 people, and about 35 per cent of global flower and plant exports pass through the Netherlands.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2020, with the headline 'Dutch floral sector wilts due to virus'. Subscribe