Union Fleurs Newsletter

May 2014


This is a bimonthly, free publication for industry relations that provides a selection of industry news with focus on information and updates on Union Fleurs events, activities and membership.

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Union Fleurs represents and promotes the worldwide interests of traders in the floriculture sector. It offers membership to National trade associations and individual companies involved in the trade of cut flowers, foliage & cut greens and pot plants. Members benefit from many services, such as lobbying and advocacy, news & updates about regulatory developments, networking and exchange of information.

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A fruitful 2014 General Assembly

Over 40 participants from 15 countries attended the Union Fleurs General Assembly 2014 from 3 to 6 April 2014 in Gran Canaria, Spain. Looking back, Union Fleurs Members and guests fully took advantage of the 3-days event with a series of meetings and professional presentations combined with  informal gatherings and a festive Gala Dinner to close this annual event.

The General Assembly meeting on 4 April was the occasion to review with the Union Fleurs members the activities carried out in the past year and be updated on the latest policy issues affecting the sector. The meeting also saw the election of a new Board of Directors under the leadership of Herman de Boon for the next two years (2014-2016).

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Herman de Boon elected Union Fleurs President with a new Board of Directors for the period 2014-2016

At the General Assembly on 4 April 2014, Union Fleurs Members unanimously elected a new Board of Directors for the next two years (2014-2016). The new Board will work under the leadership of Herman de Boon (Netherlands) as President of Union Fleurs, with the close support of Richard Fox (Kenya) as Vice-President.

Reflecting the global reach of Union Fleurs and its unique position as the representative organisation for the international floricultural trade, the new Board is made of a very international team, with the following representatives:

Herman de Boon

Ir.ing. Herman de Boon, elected president of Union Fleurs on 4 April 2014, is chairman of VGB (Vereniging van Groothandelaren Bloemkwekerijproducten), the Dutch association for the wholesale trade in flowers and plants, since 2002. He has spent more than thirty years working in top management positions in the international agri-food industry, including at the Dutch flower auctions in Westland and Aalsmeer. He currently holds a number of managerial and supervisory posts in private, public and public/private organizations involved in agribusiness and international trade. He is a graduate in mechanical engineering and business mathematics from the University of Twente (Netherlands) and in management from Harvard Business School (US).

Union Fleurs members appoint outgoing President Lennart Lovén as Honorary President

On 5 April 2014, Union Fleurs closed its 2014 General Assembly with a celebratory evening dedicated to its outgoing President, Mr Lennart Lovén, in order to pay tribute to his outstanding work during his terms as Union Fleurs President (2011-2014) and member of the Board of Directors (2008-2014).

To mark the occasion, a vote of thanks was given by Union Fleurs new President Herman de Boon who announced the unanimous decision of the Union Fleurs members to confer Mr Lovén the title of Union Fleurs Honorary President in recognition of his remarkable service and contribution to the association. To symbolize this honorific nomination, Mr Lovén was handed a personalized Union Fleurs award by Mr de Boon.

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Two new members join Union Fleurs

The 2014 General Assembly was the occasion for Union Fleurs to officially welcome two new affiliate members : YMS Co Ltd (Japan) and Agora Group  (Belgium).

YMS Co Ltd was established in 1987 and is a major importer of quality fresh cut flowers and foliage from around the world. Although their office is located in Osaka, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan, they distribute nationwide to various customers, always keeping the quality and freshness of their products as their top priority.

Contact person: Ms. Akiko Ogawa

Web: www.yms-co.jp

Agora Group started as a family wholesale store near Antwerp in 1981. Adapting fast to the market and always paying attention to the needs of their customers, the company quickly grew into a leading and innovating wholesaler for fresh cut flowers, plants and anything else a florist might need with 27 sales branches, several purchasing companies and their own transport company. Based in Kontich (Belgium), Agora Group is active in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Italy.

Contact person: M. Luc Puimège

Web: www.agoragroup.com

Union Fleurs welcomes the final position of the European Parliament on EU plant health reform adopted on 15 April

The European Parliament voted down in Plenary Session on 15 April by a very large majority the amendments put forward by the Agriculture Committee. They were aiming to replace the current EU system of phytosanitary controls at borders with a drastic new approach introducing a closed system with only a positive list of products and origins allowed at import on the basis of a prior pest risk assessment.

If adopted, such a new approach would have had very detrimental effects for the global floriculture supply chain. In counterpart, provisions on new high-risks trade have however been strengthened by the European Parliament. The reform of the EU Plant Health Regime will now continue to be discussed in the Council of Ministers. The clear position of the European Parliament against a closed system will certainly help secure reasonable positions in the interest of the floricultural trade in the final political promises that shall take place later this year in Brussels.

The outcome of the vote in the European Parliament Plenary was an outstanding success for Union Fleurs and its partner organisations from the plant-based sectors that have undertaken coordinated lobbying activities in the past 6 months in order to overturn plans to introduce a closed phytosanitary system at the EU border.

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The Union Fleurs Annual Report 2013 is now available

Click here to download the PDF version.

The Union Fleurs 2013 Annual Report summarizes the highlights of the year 2013 and provides an overview of activities carried out by Union Fleurs in the best interests of its membership, in particular in the areas of:

  • Advocacy & representation
  • Meetings & networking
  • Information & communication

The Annual Report was distributed in hard copies to all representatives of Union Fleurs members during the 2014 General Assembly held in Gran Canaria on 4 April 2014.

Those of you looking for a sneak peek into Union Fleurs' range of activities in the past year are invited to check it out. It is a comprehensive document to which you can easily refer whenever you quote the work done by Union Fleurs.

If you wish to receive hard copies for distribution to your members, please contact directly our Communications Officer Caroline Le Grand at the Union Fleurs office: communications@unionfleurs.org / +32 231 06 38

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THE NETHERLANDS/ VGB releases its 2014 “Typically wholesale” Report

Click here to download the full report (in Dutch) - Soon available in English

VGB, the Dutch Wholesale Association, has recently released its 'Typically Wholesale 2014' report, which draws a comprehensive outlook of the Dutch floriculture wholesale, its main actors and major developments from 2008 to 2013. Following the dissolution of HBAG, formerly in charge of collecting the data on sales channels for flowers and plants in the Netherlands, VGB has decided to continue the effort of gathering this valuable information by creating Floridata, a private and independent foundation that connects two-third of all national trading companies. Put together, their raw data develop into precious information for business and market analysis, now available in the VGB’s 'Typically Wholesale 2014' report. Although the report is mainly directed at the Dutch imports and exports, it also focuses on the worldwide production, supply chain and markets as globalization of the floriculture industry emerges as an obvious trend.

GERMANY/ BGI president Jan Roelofs appointed Knight of the Dutch crown

On 30 April, Jan Roelofs, president of the German Flower Wholesale and Import Trade Association e.V. (BGI), was appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau during a special ceremony organised by the Dutch consulate in Munich on the occasion of the festivities for the Dutch national King’s day. The prestigious nomination, the highest distinction of the Dutch Kingdom, was presented to Jan Roelofs by Rob Zaagman, Dutch Consul General in Munich, in the presence of Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, in recognition of his life-long contribution to the German - Dutch cooperation. 

Union Fleurs Secretary General Sylvie Mamias attended the ceremony, together with other guests of honour including members of the BGI board, the managing director of the Dutch wholesale association VGB, Robert Roodenburg, as well as the ZVG President Jürgen Mertz.

Click here to read the full press release

GERMANY/ BGI prepares for BGI Trade Center at IPM Essen 2015

This month, the German Flower Wholesale and Import Trade Association e.V. (BGI) have started sending out forms to book a booth on the 2015 BGI Trade Center at IPM Essen (27-30 January 2015). On the occasion of BGI’s 50th anniversary in 2015, a special Anniversary Service Package has been put together this year for all the BGI Trade Center exhibitors, which will include some extra booth services that had to be booked separately in the past, such as power access.

The managing directors of the BGI Service UG, Thomas Wittenburg and of the BGI e.V., Frank Zeiler, are convinced that this special anniversary offer will attract even more interested companies to book a booth in the BGI Trade Center 2015.

For further information you can contact the BGI Service UG under +49-2839-5682732 or send an e-mail to Thomas Wittenburg at thomas.wittenburg@bgi-service.de.

KENYA/ EU-Kenya Trade and Investment Forum

The Kenya Flower Council participated on 8 May 2014 in the EU-Kenya Trade and Investment Forum held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. This one-day event, graced by the presence of Kenay’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Principal Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho, was one of the numerous activities put together to celebrate the 2014 EU Week from 5 to 10 May.

A thematic panel discussion was held to discuss issues of interest to exporters and potential investors, during which the head of EU delegation Ambassador Lodewijk Briet said that relations between the EU and Kenya have matured over the years and is hoping that the EU EAC EPA negotiations will be concluded soon.

KFC Chief Executive Officer Jane Ngige highlighted the EU private sector’s involvement in the flower sector and the importance of the EU market for Kenya’s flower exports. She mentioned that Kenya’s exports to the EU account to about 22% of Kenya’s total exports, stressing that flowers in particular represent a 40% share of the EU market.

FRANCE/ Val’Hor broadcasts 4 radio spots to boost French consumers’ interest for flowers and plants

"Et vous, vous faites quoi pour votre coin de verdure ?" (“And you, what do you do for your patch of green? ")

Throughout the month of April, French radio auditors have had the pleasure to hear a series of advertising spots encouraging them to reach out to their florist shops and garden centers for floral and horticultural advise and suggestions. Based on a recent study investigating the benefits of flowers and plants on people’s well-being, the 4 spots feature different characters and messages that encourage consumers to consider horticulture products to celebrate spring and embellish their daily living.

This promotion campaign was created by Union Fleurs French member Val’hor with the support of the French Ministry for Agriculture and FranceAgriMer, the State agency for the French agricultural and fishing sectors.

COLOMBIA/ 3,000 Yellow Roses to Mark the Passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, presided over a solemn ceremony held on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 at Bogota’s Primada Cathedral to mark the passing of Colombia’s Laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The cathedral resonated with 3,000 yellow roses donated by the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, Asocolflores. Colombia’s First Lady, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos, travelled to Mexico City bearing a bouquet of 24 yellow roses to personally present to the widow of the most prominent Spanish-language author in modern history, who passed away on 17 April 2014.


FSI presents the Equivalency Tool to members during roadshow sessions

Following the FSI 2014 General Assembly at IPM Essen in January and the presentation of the first results from the FSI Equivalency Tool, the FSI team planned a series of visits to members to present them the online version of the Tool. FSI Executive Director Jeroen Oudheusden was also able to update Union Fleurs members and partners on the latest developments in the FSI Equivalency Tool during the Union Fleurs General Assembly in Gran Canaria in April.

FSI is now working in close partnership with ITC to fully customize the online tool and develop its floriculture-specific aspects. New features will be added in the coming months, such as reference levels and information on retail demand, which will open further discussions with industry players throughout the supply chain.

In order to strengthen the FSI messages and develop a strong means for communication, FSI also recently teamed up with the communications department of IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, to create a one-page infographic that summarizes the initiative in a strong and visual way:

Click here to download the infographic

Click here to read the latest FSI Newsletter

AIPH Spring Meeting debates global ornamental plant trade and environmental challenges

Representatives from organisations representing growers of ornamental horticultural crops met in London, UK on 2nd April to share information and ideas that will strengthen the position of the sector in the future. During the Spring Meeting of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) most countries reported difficult trading conditions throughout 2013 but there is optimism for improvement for 2014. Poor weather throughout Europe last year hit producers but better weather and an improvement in the economic conditions for many countries is responsible for a better outlook. 

Productivity improvements are a focus of attention in Asian countries with the need to make efficiencies and improve systems to drive up profit margins.  Price pressure seems to be less of an issue for the landscape supply industry in Japan where there is a shortage of many plants as the country replants after the earthquake and prepares for the Olympics.

Click here to read the full Press Release

CIOPORA Elects a New Board

On 1 April the CIOPORA Annual General Meeting elected in The Hague, Netherlands, the new CIOPORA Board and its President.

The election resulted in a second term for the President of CIOPORA Andrea Mansuino, who recognised that although in the past years CIOPORA has been modernized and managed to become more democratic and open both in its policies and communication, there are still many milestones to achieve. He stressed that the work on CIOPORA’s new IP position and lobby priorities will intensively continue during his second term. The Assembly also elected new board members Mrs. Wendy Cashmore, the Manager Plant Varieties at Plant & Food Research Ltd. (New Zealand), and Mr. Andreas Kientzler, the Managing Director of Innovaplant and Kientzler Jungpflanzen GmbH (Germany).

CIOPORA is the International Association of Breeders of Vegetatively Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Varieties. Breeders of such crops hold ca. 2/3 of all PVR titles in the world. Since more than 50 years CIOPORA represents them in all matters of Intellectual Property Protection.

Click here to read the full press release

International Horticultural Exposition 2014 in Qingdao, China now open!

The International Horticultural Exposition 2014 Qingdao, China, is now open and attracting visitors from within China and all over the world. The Expo, covering 241 hectares, provides a global showcase for the world of horticulture.

Approved by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), the Expo opening ceremony took place on 25 April.

37 countries and international organisations are participating, and 1.68 million tickets have already been sold with visitors expected to reach 12 million over the six months that the Expo is open.

Themed ‘From the earth, for the earth’, the Expo features well over 100 gardens including a Flower Promenade and a Boulevard plus twelve themed garden areas.

To make it easier for international visitors to attend the Expo AIPH is working with a leading tour operator to provide week-long VIP tours of the Expo along with visits to plant producers and points of horticultural interest in China. For more details and to book places on the tour visit www.horticulture-expo.com

For more details on the Expo visit http://en.qingdaoexpo2014.org or Click here to read the full Press Release.



IFTEX 2014: 4-6 June 2014 ( Nairobi, Kenya)

The International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on 4-6 June 2014 at Oshwal Centre, Westlands.

Union Fleurs secretary general Sylvie Mamias will be attending the IFTEX during the 3 days and is looking forward to meeting Union Fleurs members on the fairground. Ms Mamias will be available throughout the duration of the fair to inform about Union Fleurs and its ongoing activities and projects. Do not hesitate to contact her at: secgen@unionfleurs.org or at the Kenya Flower Council booth E1.14 in Hall E (Regal Lobby).

UNION FLEURS 2014 AUTUMN MEETING: 30 October – 2 November 2014 (London, UK)

We are pleased to inform that the next Union Fleurs Autumn Meeting will take place from 30 October to 2 November 2014 in London, United Kingdom.

Save the dates in your calendar and stay tuned for more details on the programme in the coming weeks!  We look forward to seeing many of our members and friends in London in the autumn!