Whilst the impact on the people of Ukraine is the main and most important concern in this whole dreadful situation, it would be wrong of us not to report the impact on the flower industry.
Not just in terms of cancelled orders – Russia and surrounding countries are major buyers for International Women’s Day – but in terms of gas prices and the consequences it will have on growers.
Because as reported on Flora Daily on Friday 25th, for Dutch Chrysanthemum growers, International Women’s Day is probably one of the most important trading days in the calendar as Ronald Olsthoorn of Arcadia Chrysanthemums explained. "Most of the flowers are already in Russia. The chrysanthemum - along with the tulip - are the most important flowers for Women's Day – and the flower that is often ordered first and because has a long shelf life, can be shipped early."
However, the orders they would normally receive from surrounding countries like Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus et al are not happening and it remains to be seen if they will. That will directly impact on Dutch growers who will lose a substantial piece of revenue
We have spoken to several UK based wholesalers and although prices on Chrysanthemums had already fallen back, it is far too early to tell what the outcome may be for the March trading period.
Eddie Deighan of FleuraMetz, Nick Hudson of Flowervision Bristol and John Davidson of Tom Brown all confirmed auction prices were lower for the first time in ages and it is clear that there is a lot of product which will not now go to countries like Russia which will, short term, have a positive impact on pricing.
In addition, with sanctions and banking systems making it harder to do business, many Dutch suppliers will be unlikely to want to trade and some exporters have already suspended supplies.
However, rising energy prices could perhaps force more Dutch growers to go cold (i.e., switch off heat and light) which could result in supply shortages and which may not be replaceable by 3rd country product from Kenya/South America if transport is still a problem and so the prices will rise.
Conversely growers who already went cold back in January/February could see their crops flush (grow) naturally in time for Mother’s Day which will mean supplies be good and prices will stay stable.
As we say the main concern is for the people of Ukraine but we will keep monitoring and reporting back as necessary.