Union Fleurs Newsletter

August 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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Union Fleurs Autumn Meeting 2014: 30 October to 2 November in London, UK

Union Fleurs is pleased to announce that its next Autumn Meeting will take place from 30 0ctober to 2 November 2014 in London, UK.

The Union Fleurs meetings and work sessions will as usual be coupled with a number of social events and visits for participants to make the best of their trip. The final detailed programme is still under preparation and will be communicated shortly together with all the practical information Union Fleurs members and guests will need to book their trip.

In the meantime we invite our members to save the dates and book their trip taking these dates into consideration. We hope that many of our members will be able to attend this Autumn Meeting. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the Union Fleurs office.

Read online

IFTEX Nairobi in June 2014: Union Fleurs participates with great success

In the first week of June, Union Fleurs Secretary General Sylvie Mamias took part in the 4th International Flower Trade show IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya. With the record number of visitors reported this year, IFTEX was during the three days a vibrant place for business contacts and networking opportunities. Union Fleurs presence at the show was kindly noted by the organisers during the opening ceremony. For Sylvie Mamias, IFTEX was again a great occasion to catch up with many of the Union Fleurs members present at the show, to initiate contacts with potential new members and to strengthen ties with the team of the Kenya Flower Council.

After the show, Sylvie Mamias paid a visit to the Kenya Flower Council headquarters and participated, together with Richard Fox, Kenya Flower Council Chairman and Union Fleurs Vice-President, and KFC CEO Jane Ngige, in meetings with high-level Kenyan officials Ms. Sicily Kariuki, Principal Secretary of the Kenya State Department of Agriculture and Dr. James Onsando, Director of the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS). During these meetings, specific challenges and opportunities for the Kenya flower industry in relation to the EU market were discussed at length. A meeting was also organized with Lodewijk Briët, EU Ambassador to Kenya, to exchange views on the latest state of play in the negotiations between the EU and the East African Community (EAC), which are crucial to secure free market access for Kenyan flowers to the EU in the long term. These meetings were a great occasion to boost Union Fleurs visibility and highlight its useful presence in Brussels and important role in providing policy intelligence to its members and partners in the flower industry and beyond.

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Union Fleurs article on the "challenges of globalization for the floriculture industry" featured in the CIOPORA Chronicle 2014

The CIOPORA Chronicle, a magazine dedicated to the horticultural sector and the latest updates on Intellectual Property protection in plant innovation, is published every year in cooperation with FloraCulture International. This year’s issue, dedicated to the topic: “Mission: Future”, was released in June 2014. . Union Fleurs’ expertise was called upon by CIOPORA to contribute with an article on the ‘challenges of globalization for the floriculture industry’.

The article, authored by Herman de Boon, Union Fleurs president, was published in the introductory section of the magazine dedicated to “The Current challenges for global horticulture” and explains how the globalization of the floriculture industry has created numerous challenges but also fostered many opportunities. These include a greater efficiency in the supply-chain and in the use of natural resources, income and lifestyle enhancement in developing economies, and increased choice and competitively priced products for consumers. The article concludes with the suggestion that it is the entrepreneurial and innovative capability of all industry players across the floriculture value-chain that will determine how they are going to meet the challenges and remain profitable in an ever increasingly competitive and global business environment.

Click here to read the full CIOPORA Chronicle 2014 online.

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Working for the global flower trade: Union Fleurs latest activities in Brussels and beyond

The Union Fleurs office has in the last three months been more than ever actively involved in following up all kinds of ongoing trade negotiations and regulatory developments likely to impact the global floricultural trade. In line with Union Fleurs’ key objective to ensure the free flow of floricultural products from supplying countries to consumption markets, the Union Fleurs team in Brussels has engaged in various advocacy activities to promote the common interests of Union Fleurs members and of the floricultural trade in general, in particular through a regular and direct dialogue with the relevant European Commission services and other official bodies and a wide array of industry partners.

The period May-July has been particularly rich in developments regarding trade negotiations between the EU and countries in Africa (Kenya and other East African countries, South Africa) and South America (Ecuador), which are of particular interest to the flower trade. Union Fleurs has been at the forefront of all these developments and informed its members of upcoming possible changes in market access conditions from these countries to the EU market in the next months, while liaising with the relevant European Commission services and its wider network to give adequate visibility to the needs and specificities of the floricultural sector  and obtain the most up-to-date details of interest to its members. Developments in issues related to the phytosanitary controls at import into the EU and other technical barriers to trade have also been actively monitored, be it for the upcoming reform of the EU plant health regime from 2016 and for some specific bilateral issues with some origin countries. Lately, the Union Fleurs office has also been active in keeping a close eye and liaising with EU officials on the ongoing political developments between the EU and Russia, which are since last week directly impacting EU agri-food exports to the Russian market, the second largest importer of EU’s agricultural produce – with 10% of all  EU’s agricultural exports destined for Russia. Fortunately, EU exports of flowers and plants are not on the list of products targeted by the Russian embargo entered into force on 7 August.

Needless to say, the Union Fleurs office will continue its advocacy and information activities in these areas in the coming months and keep its members informed as soon as possible of all the developments in the trade / market access and phytosanitary matters as they will unfold.


GERMANY/ Successful BGI Association’s Day on 28 June 2014 in Düsseldorf

This year’s general assembly of the BGI (the Association of the German Flower Wholesale and Import Trade) took place in the Steigenberger Parkhotel in Düsseldorf on 28 June, 2014. The guiding theme of the assembly was “Story Telling”. A well balanced mix of speeches and discussions raised the attendees’ awareness of the fact that their products may gain additional value by telling interesting stories about these products. BGI Managing Director Frank Zeiler was pleased after the assembly: “We have fully achieved this aim.”  

Click here to watch a summary of the BGI general assembly 2014 on YouTube.
Or click here to download the press release

THE NETHERLANDS/ VGB releases export statistics for Half Year 2014

In the first six months of this year, the Dutch wholesale export value of flowers and plants totaled € 3 billion, which represents an increase of 1.6%. These figures were reported by the Dutch Association of Wholesale Trade in Horticultural Products (VGB), based on the statistics available through Floridata, the independent data platform for the Dutch floriculture trade. While the export value of cut flowers stabilized at € 1.8 billion, pot and bedding plants reached € 1.2 billion, with an increase of 5.5%. It is the second time that the export value after six months reached the limit of € 3 billion as it has previously been the case in 2012.

Click here to read the full entry (in Dutch)

Click here to download the figures & graphic

KENYA/ Successful 16th KFC Annual General Meeting during IFTEX

The Kenya Flower Council held its 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday 6 June 2014 on the IFTEX premises in the Visa Oshwal Centre Westlands, on the last day of the International Trade Fair. Besides the KFC members present, external guests were invited to the open session, among which the Floriculture Sustainability initiative (FSI), an occasion to show the results achieved so far with the FSI Equivalency Tool and emphasize once more the importance of the cooperation between all actors of the supply chain by means of further improvement of sustainable practices in the floriculture sector.

KENYA/ KFC participates in the first Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) held in Nairobi

The Kenya Flower Council joined the delegates in the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) first conference held in Kenya on 26 June 2014. Kenya has been a partner country in the 3GF since 2011 and has been participating in the summits for the last 3 years. The aim was to scale up the Partnership from conference to actual Public private partnerships (PPP) activities on the ground that could provide experiences to be replicated elsewhere in the region, Africa and possibly the rest of the world. In light of this, a Kenya 3GF working group has been established with five sub-units focusing on the PPP tracts in the interest of Kenya:

  • Water resources management the water energy nexus
  • Green off-grid energy solutions
  • Partnership and Technology to transform Food Production
  • Harnessing innovation to unlock financial flows for restoration
  • Water Leakage network

These initiatives are spearheaded by both the private and public sectors in Kenya together with the Danish government.

COLOMBIA/ The United Nations Gets Showered with Thousands of Yellow Colombian Flowers

On 5 June 2014, the floor of the UN General Assembly in New York was showered with over 3,000 yellow Colombian flowers to pay tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The Colombian winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature had a predilection for yellow flowers, and wove a ‘yellow’ motif into many of his stories. The celebratory event was organized by Maria Emma Mejia, Colombian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, and attended by Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary General, and John Ashe, President of the United Nations. The tribute was also attended by U.N. Ambassadors, writers, journalists and pundits, as well as some of Garcia Marquez’s closest friends.
The donated yellow flowers were provided by Agrícola Circasia, Ayurá, Don Eusebio, Flores Carmel, Flores Aurora, Fillco, Grupo Andes, Inverpalmas, Matina and Mongibello – all Asocolflores(Association of Colombian Flower Exporters) affiliated companies, and they were shipped with the help of Avianca and Kuehne+Nagel.

COLOMBIA/ A new competitive commitment from Florverde®

Click here to download the infographic

Under the Sustainable Business Network Program RedEs CARFlorverde® Sustainable Flowers presented the first results from 14 flower companies that participated together with important companies from other sectors.

Through a public-private partnership, the RedES-CAR Program seeks to foster productive links between large companies and its suppliers, or between a union and its affiliates, to improve competitiveness and environmental performance through the implementation of cleaner production tools.

In this phase of the Program companies, that produce and export flowers to four main destinations (the United States, Russia, Europe and Asia) participated.

RedES-CAR is sponsored by the regional government environmental agency and led by the most important university in Colombia, Universidad de Los Andes.

Click here to read the full entry (in spanish)

SWITZERLAND/ Successful results for Öga 2014, the Swiss horticultural professional fair

Öga, Switzerland's largest specialized fair for the professional sector in horticulture, public green spaces, arboriculture, production of berries and vegetable farming took place in Koppigen, Switzerland from 25 to 27 June 2014. Close to 25 000 visitors from Switzerland and abroad have made the trip to discover the latest innovations in the sector. Organizers were happy to see the expected number of visitors fully reached, giving plenty of opportunities to the somewhat 450 exhibitors to create valuable contacts with customers, suppliers and partners.


FSI: First projects moving to implementation phase


The FSI members who successfully submitted a project for co-funding from IDH (The sustainable Trade Initiative) are currently wrapping up the last details of their project proposal.
Almost  ten FSI projects are currently being finalized for their launch in September.  The projects cover a broad range of topics such as: Gender, Wage, Smallholders Empowerment, Water, Residue Control & Integrated Pest Management. The field projects focus on the main flowers and plant regions in the sub-tropical producing countries such as Eastern Africa, Colombia and Central America.

For more details on the latest activities undertaken by FSI, click here to read the latest FSI Members update.

FLORINT 2nd Member Congress on 26-27 September in Brussels

The second Member’s Congress of Florint, the International Florists Organisation, will take place in Brussels at the Renaissance Hotel on 26-27 September, followed by Florint General Assembly on 28 September and a visit to the famous ‘Fleuramour’ flower show at Alden Biesen (Belgium) on 29 September.

Florint’s Congress will aim to bring together various players of the floriculture sector – growers, wholesalers, florists etc - to address many of the current issues the sector is faced with. To this purpose, Florint will organise on 27 September several round-table events and workshops for all participants to discuss today’s opportunities for the sector to work as one; the current global and local floral trends; fair trade and sustainable development; and how floral education and business are interacting. The workshops will look at how to connect with Florists in Social Media, how to create a perfect flower competition, and how to become a Florint Judge.

Marc Eijsackers, the new Managing Director of the Dutch Flower Council, has been announced as the key note speaker for the congress. Mr. Eijsackers will be addressing participants over lunch time about the marketing of flowers and how to stay at the top of consumer's minds, drawing examples from the low-budget but high-impact campaigns that the Flower Council of Holland has realized in recent times. Herman de Boon, Union Fleurs president, will participate in one of the round table discussions in the morning of 27 September, tackling with other speakers the variety of global challenges currently faced by the floriculture sector.

Click here to download the Congress Brochure and here to download the registration form.

AIPH Annual Congress from 16 to 19 September in Qingdao, China

AIPH, the International Association of Horticultural Producers, announced that its Annual Congress will be held from 16 to 19 September in the Expo Plaza Hotel in Qindao, China.

The event is co-organised by AIPH, the China Flower Association and the Executive Committee of the Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition 2014.

In addition to the congress, Qingdao is home to several other AIPH associated events. The AIPH-approved International Horticultural Exposition is currently taking place in Qingdao and guests will enjoy a tour of this stunning expo as well as professional visits to local horticultural businesses and a green city tour of Qingdao. The highly anticipated award ceremony for AIPH International Grower of the Year 2014 will also be held on the evening of 17 September.

HPP Exhibitions: phenomenal growth for a successful IFTEX 2014

Three years after its colourful launch in Nairobi, IFTEX is arguably heading to become one of the leading flower trade shows in the world. The event has marked a new record as the fastest growing event in the history of international flower trade fairs, attracting flower growers from even other continents to exhibit.

"It is like a tornado, the show has a fresh face at every turn, there is no telling where it is heading but what is clear, is its phenomenal growth towards a world class trade exhibition", says Jasper van Dijk, spokesman of the organizers of the fair. A total of 187 exhibitors exhibited in Nairobi, Kenya on the first week of June and 3,231 visitors attended the 3 day show. 54 different countries were counted "at the door", a great achievement in the mission of bringing the world to source flowers in the country where they are grown.


Union Fleurs Autumn Meeting 30 October - 2 November 2014 in London, UK

We are happy to confirm that our next Autumn Meeting will take place from 30 October to 2 November 2014 in London, UK.
We are currently finalising the programme. It will include:

  • 30 October: Arrival of participants and Board Meeting
  • 31 October: Professional visits
  • 1 November: Members' Meeting and seminar with external guests
  • 2 November: Excursion day

Further information on the programme, venue and hotel will follow soon.

We hope that many members and guests will be able to attend this Autumn Meeting. If you have any questions in the meantime, don't hesitate to contact the Union Fleurs office.

IFTF 2014 in Vijfhuizen, THE NETHERLANDS, 5 to 7 November 2014

Union Fleurs will again be present at this years' International Floriculture Trade Fair IFTF in Vijfhuizen, Holland from 5 to 7 November 2014 with a booth and will not miss the opportunity to meet with a handful of potential new members, as well as getting together with current members present at the fair. For more information you can visit the IFTF website.